“A ROOM AT THE INN” – Pastoral letter on homelessness in Ireland – Senior Students Justice Study perhaps.

A Room at the Inn? looks in depth at the root causes of the housing crisis and offers solidarity with anyone experiencing homelessness.  The dignity which, as Catholics, we recognise in every person, must be reflected in the reality of life in our society.

Key findings of A Room at the Inn? are:  

  • housing be recognised as a human right and that it should be safe, affordable and appropriate;
  • the provision of housing cannot be left solely to the market;
  • housing should not be treated as any other commodity;
  • housing policies should recognise the rights of families and seek to bring about greater equality in our society;
  • action must be taken to increase the supply and reduce the price of housing;
  • the private rental sector needs to ensure fair pricing and security of tenure in the context of its recent growth at the expense of home ownership and social housing;
  • cooperative housing should be encouraged and supported with the introduction of a new ‘Cost Rental’ sector which focuses on actual cost of providing housing and not profit;
  • taxation be considered for vacant sites; close tax loopholes and use compulsory purchase powers to utilise potential sites which lie undeveloped for a lengthy period of time;
  • the making of enormous profits through land speculation in housing developments and in maintaining high rents is particularly damaging to society;
  • the accommodation needs of the Travelling Community and of asylum seekers must be addressed in a housing strategy;
  • housing provision should take account of environmental sustainability and the use of proper building standards to ensure quality of living for occupants;
  • housing provision should take account of rural and urban development policies;
  • housing policy should be committed to ensuring that those employed in the construction sector can work in safe, secure and fair working environments;
  • energy poverty is widespread in Ireland and many are living in substandard or in minimal standards of accommodation;
  • the absence of adequate housing occurs as a result of governments prioritising other objectives over the provision of housing which is necessary for the dignity of the person;
  • an absence of an adequate and a secure home for children will impact on their life in terms of education, employment and health;
  • allowing a continuation of the disparity between those who have adequate and affordable housing and those who are poorly housed or without a home will create a divided society;
  • There needs to be an open debate about how public policy can serve to reclaim housing from global markets so that its primary and essential purpose is realised.

Please see the following link to the full text in pdf of A Room at the Inn?

Bishops-pastoral-letter-on-Housing-and-Homelessness-A-Room-at-the-Inn

A great example for us all is the life and teaching of Mother Theresa now a Saint.

She experienced a second calling in her life and chose to go and work with the poorest of the poor.

Watch this video of her story.

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Pope Francis encourages us to live the Beatitudes. He says

“The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card. So, if anyone asks: ‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives. The word ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’ thus becomes a synonym for ‘holy’. It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness.” {GE, 63-4)

Living these are a true challenge for us all.  Pope Francis continues

“If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ. That is what it is to be a Christian! ” (GE, 98)

My good friend Aidan Donaldson has recently written about the new Beatitudes mentioned by Pope Francis in Sweden

In his own beatitudes, he tells us that this is what this path to happiness and holiness looks like:

  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalised and show them their closeness.
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.

(Beatitudes announced by Pope Francis in Sweden 2016)

For more on this read “The Beatitudes of Pope Francis, A manifesto for the modern Christian ”  By Dr Aidan Donaldson  Published by Veritas   9781 84730 850 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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