Apr 19, 2013

St Vincent de Paul chief: homelessness is everyone’s problem

The key to ending homelessness lies not in the homeless themselves but in society as a whole, writes St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia CEO Dr John Falzon.

Homelessness in a prosperous country is nothing short of scandalous.

There will always be some in the community who think the people who are homeless are the ones who must change; that they must be subjected to some form of “tough love”. But when we see not only how far we have come but how many we have left behind, it is clear that it is we who must change.

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One thought on “St Vincent de Paul chief: homelessness is everyone’s problem

  1. @landrights4all


    The State’s most pernicious way of intimidating man into conformity is its promotion of home ownership. Homelessness is “systemic” – our system causes & relies on it for control Whoever owns the land owns the food and water and will soon enough own the populace.

    Land ownership inflates rents by capitalising on the COMMUNITY’s development. Land (&air) is the birthright of all not the asset of some.

    A new model for both housing & work is needed to end homelessness, accommodate refugees and address climate change. If you support “a right to shelter” you’d surely support a right to build it for yourself

    This model would uphold the rights of the landless poor while serving the natural desire of all people, rich and poor, to have a neighbourhood that works.

    • Private property rights are foundational to “the system”
    • While the UN Declaration of Human Rights identifies the right to life, & a right to shelter, no right of access to land for shelter is identified – this “omission” is strategic to “the system”
    • To get a property right you must first prove your value to the system – or be continually assessed as ‘deserving’ of taxpayer support.
    • Provision of shelter as welfare is expensive & will be indefinitely forestalled for “higher” budget priorities by the majority of voters who are now committed to personal property interests
    • Ownership “right to property” is unlimited by any right of landless people to the elements for life – air water sunlight & LAND whereby they could build their own shelter & end homelessness
    • If you support a “right to shelter” you’d surely support a right to build it for yourself (see )
    • It may be thought too late to identify land access as a human right because of the property system and, in a democracy, the interests of the majority where their “property rights” hold sway. It may even seem that there is no longer space or need since even the unemployed get enough money for food and shelter – but is this just or sustainable?
    • Any unemployed person choosing to build shelter and grow their own food would become less dependent on welfare. They would also be breaking ground in sustainable development for all – they would be doing essential work which the state should recognise.
    • Additional land for public housing should be made available for any who would take on those responsibilities.
    • Any birthright of access to free land should be limited by the responsibility to use it in accordance with that right … to maintain or develop a home, grow veggies AND to do it sustainably

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