Everyone in the Shire needs a home: Engadine Uniting Church’s commitment to affordable housing

Everyone in the Shire needs a home: Engadine Uniting Church’s commitment to affordable housing

Everyone in the Shire needs a home. But a lack of available, affordable homes to rent means that a growing number of people struggle to find one. On the same day that a horse ran faster than some other horses and won over four million dollars for its owners, 75 people piled into Engadine Uniting Church and spilled out into the hall to learn from expert speakers on affordable rental housing solutions and to question politicians from all levels of government on their commitment to implementation.

“Great night, and well-run forum”

“Thank you so much to the volunteers for creating such an important event”

“Gotta hand it to Engadine Uniting Church for organising what was a very informative and respectful event. A good balance of people from the community with real, lived experience and solutions, along with the people who have the power to make the change.”

“Thank you residents, guest speakers and Engadine Uniting Church for your advocacy of this important issue.”

“All levels of government are needed with key community stakeholders to deliver affordable housing for all. It’s a human right! Thank you Sue and all your team, it was a terrific event that we as the community will build on together.”

Participants in the community forum

Moving testimonials of housing stress, vulnerable youth, and real life solutions were given by Jo, John, and the CEO of Project Youth, Jodie Darge. John Engelar and Pilar Abustari of Shelter NSW, the peak body in NSW for housing policy and advocacy, presented expert evidence for a range of housing solutions that can be implemented concurrently at state and local levels. John offered a definition of ‘key workers’ as “the people who kept us alive during Covid…the people who can’t just say ‘I’m working from home today’.”

Federal, State, and Local Government politicians came to listen to personal stories, consider expert solutions, and hear about the council’s performance on the provision of affordable rental housing. Our elected representatives were given the opportunity to offer their own solutions and commitments, and asked to respond to direct questioning from a highly informed crowd.

But it wasn’t just individuals there on the night – there were over a dozen local church, social service, political and other civil society organisations represented. The local Uniting Church congregation in Engadine partnered with other Sydney Alliance member groups in the Sutherland area to bring everyone together. Ordinary local people spoke with each other about why the issue mattered to them, and made commitments to each other about working together with a spirit of collaboration and partnership to keep our leaders answerable to us.

This is the church’s mission: we are seeking justice, working towards fairness to ensure the opportunity of an abundant life for everyone in our community.

You can read more about the evening at Engadine Uniting Church’s website here.

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