Last month, I attended the National Youth Homelessness Conference in Melbourne. Unsurprisingly, the challenging conditions of the housing market – supply, mortgage rates, rental affordability – are all making it harder for young people without family support to find and maintain secure housing.
Some researchers argue that the housing situation for young people at risk is the worst in over thirty years.
We see this firsthand at Concern Australia. Many of the young people we support are working to overcome multiples challenges in an increasingly difficult environment.
Thinking about all this reminded me of a comment I heard a few years ago. A retired politician was speaking about housing and homelessness. She was welcoming new investment in public housing but was also arguing that solving the problem is not something that governments can do alone. She remarked that as she was travelling, she had driven past lots of churches, many of which had more land that they needed (meaning that they weren’t actively using) and that she would love to see more churches involved in fighting our housing crisis. Her comment has stayed with me ever since.
Of course, many people of faith and various organisations are involved in supporting young people that are at risk of homelessness (including through Concern Australia!) and already make a huge difference.
But… I am also challenged to consider innovative ways that we can be responding to these housing challenges in 2023 and beyond.
It is true that together we have many resources, and it is always important to ask how we are stewarding them. Can we make better use of unused land and buildings to meet the needs of the most vulnerable?
Here at Concern Australia, we are considering our role and how we can be part of the solution to the housing crisis, faithfully continuing the work we were founded to do.
We would love to hear from you if you are interested in exploring partnering with us on this innovative and new journey! Please get in touch with our Partnerships Manager via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to talk more about how you can be involved.
Thank you for your ongoing practical, prayerful, and financial support.