Vinnies believes that every Australian has the right to “a place to live”. This right is enshrined in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 11 (1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The latter recognises “the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions”. As a signatory to this Convention, the Australian government has a duty to its citizens to both increase the accessibility, and decrease the cost, of adequate housing to all Australians.
The Society is also actively engaged in the fulfilment of the right to housing for all Australians, through our programs and advocacy. For example, all around Australia St Vincent de Paul runs many free services for people experiencing housing stress, particularly those who are sleeping rough; we provide accommodation for families experiencing housing deprivation; the Society manages long-term housing to people living with chronic mental illness; and we also provide crisis accommodation services.
The Society is therefore pleased that the Australian Government and states and territories are coming together to tackle the issues of homelessness, under the National Affordable Housing Agreement.