We see much more political will to address homelessness both within the United Nations and in Member States. The key to successfully moving this will towards action will be coming together as one global movement, with people with lived experience, service providers, government, and academia, speaking powerfully for how homelessness should be addressed both within our countries and internationally.
Inclusive Data Charter
Why the UN?
The UN is the world’s largest and most influential supranational body. The UN has also taken on responsibility for tracking global poverty through the Sustainable Development Goals. These Goals forget to track homelessness – but how can we track global poverty if we forget to track its most visible manifestation? The UN leadership in describing, measuring, and tracking reductions in homelessness will accelerate global efforts to implement effective solutions.
UN-HABITAT held a Special Event on Affordable Housing and Ending Homelessness in the framework of the High-Level Meeting Week on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda. IGH and our partners Rob Robinson from New York City, USA; Ram Thimmarayappa from Bengaluru, India; Stephen de Beer from Tshwane, South Africa, Gabriel Cunha from Uruguay, and Neil Munslow from Newcastle, UK; attended and presented at the event. Watch the event: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1u/k1u97a5w2z
Homelessness and the SDGs
Although homelessness is not mentioned across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), homelessness meaningfully intersects with each SDG. IGH and UN-Habitat have partnered to strategically lead the work within the UN eco-system to establish a clear, shared definition, and ensure that homelessness measurement occurs. Read Baroness Casey of Blackstock and Lydia Stazen’s Seeing Homelessness through the Sustainable Development Goals article here: https://www.feantsaresearch.org/public/user/Observatory/2021/EJH_15-3/EJH_15-3_A4_v02.pdf
IGH established a formal partnership with UN-Habitat to continue to raise awareness of homelessness within the UN ecosystem, provide technical assistance and capacity building to Member States interested in addressing homelessness, and plan for better global homeless data collection.
UN NGO Working Group to End Homelessness (WGEH)
IGH is a strategic partner and member of the Executive Committee member of the UN NGO Working Group to End Homelessness (WGEH), a group of 31 organizations working to influence the UN political proceedings to heighten Member States’ and Civil Society’s concern for and the action against the social injustice of homelessness.
WGEH continues to refine its strategy to advocate at the United Nations for a clear, global measurement of street homelessness; a shared goal to reduce and ultimately end street homelessness; and support for a global movement to spread effective strategies across member states.
WGEH members continue to convene regularly, at large and as subcommittees, to identify opportunities to engage and build relationships with UN stakeholders, spearhead the writing of UN NGO statements, organize and host UN side events, and exchange knowledge on homelessness. One of the Working Group’s objectives is to increase co-production with people who have lived experience of homelessness through increased consultative membership, inclusive event collaboration, and inclusive asks and statements.
Visit the WGEH website: www.wgehomelessness.org.
2021 Resolution on Homelessness
In late December 2021, the United Nations General Assembly passed its first-ever resolution on homelessness. This is a watershed moment, as homelessness has historically been absent from international policy discussions. Homelessness is not even explicitly included in any of the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all UN member states in 2015 to end poverty, reduce inequity and spur economic growth. Learn more: https://sdgs.un.org/goals.
Our staff has been invited speakers at the United Nations Expert Group Meeting on “Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness,” the 2018 CSocD Civil Society Forum, the UN Habitat 2019 Urban October event on sustainable and resilient cities, and others.