What is IGH?
The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) supports an emerging global movement to end street homelessness. As a first step toward achieving this goal, we are working with key global strategic partners to eradicate street homelessness in 150 cities around the world by 2030. Our vision is that within a generation we will live in a world where everyone has a place to call home – a home that offers security, safety, autonomy, and opportunity.
IGH is the first organization to focus on homelessness as a global phenomenon with an emphasis on those who are living on the street or in emergency shelters. It is a partnership between DePaul University in Chicago, USA, and Depaul International, a London-based organization that provides direct services and advocacy for homeless people in the UK, Ireland, Ukraine, Slovakia, USA, and France. The IGH staff and Advisory Committee work with a broad network of world-class advisors, experts, and organizations — balancing geographies, cultures, and skills.
Homelessness is a global challenge. The United Nations Human Settlements Program estimates that 1.1 billion people live in inadequate housing, and the best data available suggest that more than 100 million people have no housing at all.
Street homelessness affects people in every region of the world — developed and developing — and in the absence of coordinated action globally it is growing. The imbalance between supply and demand, cost and poor quality of housing, displacement driven by political and economic causes, and the lack of a safety net for the most vulnerable all contribute to the growth of street homelessness. This is one of the great and visible social ills of our time and yet there has been no coordinated global response to tackle it on a par with other issues related to poverty and health.
This problem can be solved.
Examples of success exist in regions where leaders have developed effective interventions to end homelessness. Many countries have seen steep and measurable reductions in street homelessness. In Finland, homelessness has steadily decreased since the 1980s to a point where it is almost negligible. In the UK, street sleeping was reduced by almost two thirds in the early 2000’s through the government Rough Sleepers Unit.
Still, no global organization exists* to draw connections between successes across the world and to allow leaders to learn from one another about how to end street homelessness. To do this we need a clear, shared global goal and an agency such as IGH with the time, expertise, and resources to consistently and effectively respond to the needs of regional and local leaders and track progress. Until now the global conversation has excluded street homelessness because the challenges are often systemic and complicated. IGH aims to change that dynamic.
*Several international organizations offer advocacy and seek effective solutions for slum dwellers, refugees, and internally displaced peoples, but they do not focus on the global challenge of street homelessness as a group that includes some of the most vulnerable people in any community.