Housing highlighted at Social Justice Forum

Tuesday 31 May 2022

St Vincent de Paul Society members from across the state converged on Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney for a day of advocacy and connection as part of the 2022 Social Justice Forum.

Initially scheduled to take place last October only for the COVID-19 Delta variant to force most of NSW into lockdown, the belated event presented members and social justice advocates with the opportunity to take a broader look at the factors that lead people to seek assistance and discuss the Society’s social justice priorities.

Beginning proceedings with a Welcome to Country from Yvonne Weldon and a spiritual reflection by Sister Carmel Hanson, an opening address from Brooke Simmons, Vice President Social Justice, highlighted the opportunities for change presented by the recent Federal Election.

Jack de Groot, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO, facilitate a panel discussion on working to shape more just and compassionate communities. Speakers included Jihad Dib MP (NSW Member for Lakemba), Father Peter Smith (Promoter of Justice and Peace for the Archdiocese of Sydney) and Alice Salomon (Uniting).

Break-out sessions were held on issues including the Uluru Statement from the Heart, responding to domestic violence and coercive control, understanding climate equity and natural disasters, centring the voices of people with lived experience, and building local relationships for change.

Having launched the ‘Build Homes, Build Hope’ campaign at the previous Social Justice Forum in 2019, the afternoon session focussed on the Society’s continued call for governments to increase the supply of social housing.

John Engeler, Shelter NSW CEO, provided a snapshot on the state of social housing in NSW, followed by a presentation from Michelle Fonti on the actions taken by the Society during the last three years of the ‘Build Homes, Build Hope’ campaign.

Members concluded the day by discussing campaign actions in the lead-up to the State Budget and NSW Election in 2023. One action agreed upon was a campaign to send handwritten letters to Dominic Perrottet, every day, leading up to the NSW Election in March.

To find out more about our advocacy work, contact: social.justice@vinnies.org.au.