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. In February 2020, the UN issued the first resolution on homelessness in three decades, at the 58th Session of the Commission for Social Development, including a definition and a call to members states to measure it Now the resolution has to be passed by the Economic and Social Council and, later in 2020, the General Assembly. Never before has there been a better opportunity to call on the UN to lead the effort to end homelessness.
In February 2020, the 58th Commission for Social Development’s priority theme was “Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness.” During this commission people from all sectors and countries came together to discuss how to best end homelessness. Most importantly, we heard from a number of people who have experienced homelessness. This resulted in a resolution on homelessness that calls on member states to collect and share accurate and disaggregated data with the Statistical Commission. With this resolution, we can work together to begin sharing the vital information we need to address homelessness on a global scale.
Homelessness and the SDGs
Although the Sustainable Development Goals do not directly mention homelessness, it is intrinsically linked to every SDG. You can learn more about how ending homelessness can help us work towards all the Sustainable Development Goals, read our SDGs Overview or our SDG and Homelessness Advocacy guide.
IGH at the UN
IGH is a strategic partner and member of the Executive Committee member of the Working Group to End Homelessness, 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.
Our staff have 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.
IGH Framework for Understanding Homelessness
The IGH Global Framework captures three broad categories of people who may be considered homeless,
defined as “lacking access to minimally adequate housing.” For local definitions, countries or cities may
include some of these categories and not others. Rather than a list that must be accepted in full
everywhere, the Framework offers a shared vocabulary for collaboration across countries. Within the
Framework, IGH targets programs and research primarily toward those in Category 1 and in a
subset of Category 2.
See the full Framework here.
An Overview fo Global Homelessness and Strategies for Systemic Change
This paper discusses the definition, demographics, major themes, known solutions, and unanswered questions of unsheltered homelessness on a global scale. First, it will explore the necessity of shared vocabulary and suggest the use of the IGH Global Framework for Understanding Homelessness. This framework lays the foundation for comparable data to understand the scope of homelessness in a certain place. The paper will then lay out what is already known about global homelessness, including root causes and key demographics. From there, the paper will discuss the major debates and themes of global homelessness, such as criminalization, and questions of rights and enforcement. The final sections examine effective strategies for systemic change and identify gaps and opportunities for sustained success.
See the full report here.
Homelessness and COVID-19 in an international context
This post explores the picture of what is happening to people experiencing homelessness internationally during COVID-19. It provides a snapshot of how different countries, systems and cultures are responding. We will not know the full impact of the pandemic on this population for some time but anecdotal evidence points to tremendous suffering in many parts of the world.
For many homelessness services systems, following general guidance for virus suppression and prevention proved near-impossible, and they have had to grapple with the necessity of near-complete system redesigns as COVID-19 guidance evolved. Their ability to adapt and offer appropriate support has varied, and responses have been broad, ranging from no special intervention for rough sleepers to bringing all or almost-all rough sleepers inside during the lockdown period.
See the full post here.