Climate Change: Multiple Risks for Homeless Women and Girls

by | Mar 7, 2022 | News, Vincentian Family at the U.N.

We are facing the triple planetary crises of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned the World Forum for Democracy, held in Strasbourg, France, from 16 to 18 November 2020. In the opinion of many, Climate change may be the most important global human rights crisis of our time.

As Vincentians at the UN, we seek to understand the impact of this crisis for people experiencing homelessness. Homelessness is an egregious form of poverty, a barrier to human rights, well-being, and gender equality.  Homelessness and climate change individually or in combination leads to poor health, is a risk factor for emotional health, reduces the ability to learn, to achieve sustainable livelihoods, and to flourish with human dignity and equality.

Extreme weather events such as droughts and floods have a greater impact on the poor and most vulnerable-70% of the world’s poor are women. Climate related disasters force women to migrate to unfamiliar areas, exacerbating caregiving responsibilities, limiting livelihoods, and increasing the risk of human trafficking, sexual abuse, and early marriage.

Homeless people, who are already among the most vulnerable in societies are disproportionately impacted as they have fewer resources. Climate change impacts homeless women and girls even more profoundly as entrenched gender inequalities increase their risks.

Please join us as we explore this topic at a virtual Parallel Event of CSW66 with:

  • Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to Adequate Housing and Professor of Law and Human Rights;
  • Leilani Farha, Executive Director of the NGO Canada Without Poverty, former Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, and an international advocate on the gender dimensions of women’s economic, social and cultural rights;
  • Mininim Oseji, a Consultant on Public Health and Community Physician, and the Permanent Secretary of the Delta State Ministry of Environment, Nigeria;
  • Jennifer Bhuiyan, an Assistant Professor at St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and a Clinical Pharmacist in Primary Care at Project Renewal, a non-profit organization which provides medical and social services to people experiencing homelessness in New York City;
  • Sister Aisha Kavalakattu, SCN, who works to create housing that includes safe spaces for women and girls in the aftermath of natural disasters, to prevent trafficking in Nepal;
  • Dana Marlowe, Founder and Executive Director of I Support the Girls, an organization that collects and distributes essential items, including bras, underwear, and menstrual hygiene products, allowing women experiencing homelessness, impoverishment, or distress to stand tall with dignity; and,
  • A woman with a lived experience of homelessness, will be introduced by Dana.


The care of the planet and the care of people experiencing poverty are two critical priorities for Vincentians.  In addition to raising awareness, we can create solutions and insure a future of justice and peace.

For more information, contact: MaryAnn Dantuono, AIC-International Representative to the UN