Vincentian Homeless Alliance calls upon the nations of the world to end unsheltered homelessness at UN Commission on Social Development
“One of the most powerful images of global poverty is homeless people living on the streets of our major towns and cities” stated Mark McGreevy, CEO of DePaul International and spokesperson for the FAMVIN Homeless Alliance. He cautioned the delegations of UN member states, the secretariat and non-governmental organizations that without a commitment to include men, women, children and the disabled, who are street homeless in the efforts to attain the sustainable development goals, that they risk leaving behind one of the most vulnerable groups in rich and poor nations throughout the world.
Mr. McGreevy was a speaker on a High-Level Panel January 29 on the priority theme of “Strategies for Eradicating Poverty to Achieve Sustainable Development for all.” He called attention to the lack of indicators on street homelessness in the Sustainable Development Goals without which, poverty could not be eradicated. “If the 2030 Agenda’s focus is on solutions to poverty for people in vulnerable situations who face additional discrimination, then we almost certainly need to include solutions for people experiencing street homelessness.”
It is possible to reduce or even end street homelessness according to the Vincentian Homeless Alliance. They are working with the Institute of Global Homelessness at DePaul University in Chicago gathering stories of what has worked in practice and they have begun working with 150 cities who have pledge to end street homelessness by 2030. Mr. McGreevy emphasized that there are ways and methodologies to make this issue a part of national poverty reduction strategies. It requires: A well-coordinated system that plans for outcomes and gathers reliable data; A citywide or national strategy that weaves together prevention, emergency response, and housing and support; and Resources to support this work and to provide an adequate supply of safe, affordable accommodation or shelter.
“Shelter and housing are the foundation stones for dignified, decent and rewarding lives. Shelter and housing are crucial if people are to reach their full potential and to address other causes and effects of extreme poverty,” McGreevy stated. He called upon the Commission to “make a difference” by doing two things: first, establishing a measurable indicator of reductions in street homelessness within the current SDGs, using a shared vocabulary; and second, making the case that existing national poverty reduction plans also focus on reducing or eliminating street homelessness.
The Vincentian Family working at the UN in New York is grateful for Mark’s intervention. As part of an ongoing effort to highlight unsheltered homelessness as a key factor in poverty eradication strategies, this group was a catalyst in securing an invitation from the Chair of the Commission for this presentation.