About Us

What is IGH?

The Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) drives a global movement to end street homelessness. Our vision is a world where everyone has a home that offers security, safety, autonomy, and opportunity. Founded in 2014, 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 (Chicago, USA), and Depaul International (London, UK), which provides direct services for people experiencing homelessness  in the UK, Ireland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Croatia, 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.

We work towards our vision through our three strategic priorities:

See It

Advocate for international homelessness policy focused on definition and measurement

Solve It

Partner with cities and countries eager to take concrete action to solve the problem

Share It

Connect with others to coalesce the global movement

Why global?

Homelessness is a global challenge. The United Nations Human Settlements Program estimates that 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing, and the best data available suggest that more than 100 million people have no housing at all. Homelessness is growing in many parts of the world, occurs in all nations, and has severe negative impacts on individuals and on communities. 

Homelessness is a complex issue, sitting at the intersection of public health, housing affordability, domestic violence, mental illness, substance misuse, urbanization, racial and gender discrimination, infrastructure, and unemployment. The interplay between these elements is expressed in a host of ways depending upon local context. Levels of homelessness rise and fall dependent on shifts in, and changes to, any one of the elements. 

But there is good news: this problem can be solved. Countries and cities across the world have seen steep reductions in homelessness, and some have ended it outright. With the right mix of program interventions, well-coordinated local systems, and effective policy, many countries have proved that homelessness can be successfully addressed. 

IGH exists to draw connections between these global successes, scale best practices among practitioners, and accelerate progress in reducing and ending homelessness.

About George and Tanya Ruff

A senior principal of Trinity Hotel Investors LLC and member of DePaul University’s School of Hospitality Leadership Advisory Board and Philanthropy Committee, Mr. Ruff has very generously and steadfastly contributed to the Institute of Global Homelessness. Mrs. Ruff has been an important partner in this work and a dedicated advocate for DePaul. They have honored DePaul’s Vincentian mission by contributing to the Holtschneider Chair in Vincentian Studies, represented DePaul overseas, and participated in numerous campus activities in support of students.

Homelessness also became a cause the couple took very much to heart.  “I became very interested in trying to do something about the homelessness situation I was seeing unfold across the nation and around the world,” says Ruff. “Ending homelessness is something Tanya and I are very interested in being a part of and are happy to lend our names to.” The Ruffs’ generous estate gift will ensure that the work of IGH lasts far into the future.