A Room at the Inn?

Photo by Ev on Unsplash

‘Lack of housing is a grave problem in many parts of the world, both in rural areas and in large cities … Not only the poor, but many other members of society as well, find it difficult to own a home. Having a home has much to do with a sense of personal dignity and the growth of families. This is a major issue for human ecology.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’, n. 152)

In response to the ongoing homelessness and housing crisis in Ireland, the Irish Bishops have released a pastoral letter: A Room at the Inn? As even people in employment supposedly earning a living wage find themselves without a home, as families spend their day seeking a place to stay for the night, as rent spirals upwards, and as the possibility of ever owning a home seems ever further out of reach for young people, the Irish Bishops question what sort of decisions, and underlying attitudes, have led us to this state of affairs.

The Bishops begin by stating what should have been obvious but has somehow been lost in the economic system we have allowed to develop: “The dignity which, as Catholics, we recognise in every person, must be reflected in the reality of life in our society and it is our belief that safe, affordable and appropriate housing is a human right.” They provide a critique of the belief that the market will solve this problem, and the attitude that sees homes as simply another commodity when in fact they are so much more. They echo the words of Pope Francis in saying ‘There is no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing’.

You can read the full pastoral letter here.

John McGeady (OLA Justice Officer)
2 November 2018