Child planting seedling at community event

Jesuit Social Services works with some of the most marginalised members of society, including people who face barriers to education and employment and people who have contact with the criminal justice system. It’s often these same people who are hardest hit during extreme weather events caused by climate change.

During heatwaves, for example, people living in poor-quality rentals are more likely to suffer heat stroke, anxiety, and disrupted sleep – which are linked to spikes in family violence and poor engagement with school. Our recent Dropping off the Edge 2021 report also shows that environmental disadvantage like heat stress and poor air quality often goes hand-in-hand with other forms of social and economic disadvantage to create a web of disadvantage that is hard to escape. Building climate resilient communities means addressing inequities in access to quality housing, services and infrastructure.

In 2021, Jesuit Social Services, with funding from Gandel Foundation and the Victorian Government, launched the Centre for Just Places – an initiative supporting place-based solutions to social and ecological justice problems. Since its establishment, the Centre has been facilitating climate adaptation and resilience workshops with local governments and community service organisations across Melbourne.

“We know that community service organisations are key responders in supporting people at risk during extreme weather but they often aren’t prepared for the disruption it can cause to their services. That needs to change,” says Susie Moloney, Executive Director of the Centre for Just Places.

The Centre’s workshops bring diverse agencies and organisations within a specific local area together, to build a common understanding around climate change impacts, share knowledge on local strengths, vulnerabilities and risks, and spark community-led solutions.

We look forward to continuing to share updates about the valuable work of the Centre for Just Places in the future.