Auckland Bishop Patrick Dunn has urged parishes in his diocese to consider what responses they can make to address the housing crisis in their areas.
In a pastoral letter dated September 16, Bishop Dunn urged parishes to consider if, as a parish, or as individuals within parishes, affordable rental accommodation or emergency housing or furnishings could be made available to help a homeless family.
The bishop noted several instances where parishes had provided “missionary outreach” in this regard — including the work of De Paul House and the Monte Cecilia Housing Trust, working with parishes; the provision of a house each by Beach Haven (for use by De Paul House) and Glen Eden parishes for such purposes; the provision by the Dominican Sisters of one of their houses (for use by De Paul House) for three years and the work by St Heliers parish in providing bedding and beds for every family in a low decile school.
“Many parishes from the resources they have available,” Bishop Dunn wrote, “have helped those in greatest need in their midst and yet the need continues to be great. As your Shepherd, I encourage you not to lose heart and together as a parish community to find renewed and creative ways to ‘be an evangelising community that gets involved . . . in people’s daily lives’, (Evangelii Gaudium, 24)”. He encouraged parishes to work together
and/or with other groups.
Parishes or individuals which think they may be in a position to assist can make an initial contact with Catholic Social Services phone 09 378 9650 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.