This Month in Homelessness: October 2020 sees launch of new initiatives to address homelessness globally

This Month in Homelessness: October 2020 sees launch of new initiatives to address homelessness globally - Institute of Global Homelessness

World Homeless Day (WHD) is observed on the 10th of October each year to increase awareness of the needs of people experiencing homelessness and opportunities for communities to get involved in responding to homelessness. WHD emerged from online discussions between people working to respond to homelessness from various parts of the world. The international awareness day aims to amplify the global movement to end homelessness. Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and organizations across the world continue large-scale efforts to combat the issue through research, virtual convenings and campaigns, and knowledge exchange.

Organizations continue to drive the Vincentian mission through urgent, collaborative responses to homelessness worldwide. St. Vincent de Paul led and inspired work with people experiencing street homelessness, including children and refugees. The DePaul University Division of Mission and Ministry (DMM) featured the Institute of Global Homelessness in their Seeds of the Mission campaign, which aimed to highlight stories of mission-in-action through which people at DePaul. DePaul’s Grounded in Mission: The plan for DePaul 2024 names street homelessness in strategic priority 1.2.C — “provide thought leadership in addressing pressing issues of social and environmental justice, including global efforts to eradicate street homelessness” and priority 1.2.E urges the university to “better coordinate and advance our mission-based community outreach efforts at the local, national, and international levels.” “The Vincentian values are at play in the work of IGH every single day,” said our Executive Director, Lydia Stazen. In theDMM campaign, Stazen discusses IGH’s three signature strategies of “see it, solve it, share it” to achieve its mission to eradicate global homelessness, in support of those goals.

Convened by The Shift, along with organizations worldwide, the Global Homelessness Action initiative provides people experiencing homelessness with an opportunity to collectively claim their right to housing. It aims to amplify individual voices and demand concrete and urgent action from governments through video, audio, and written testimonies. The Shift invites anyone living without shelter to claim their right to housing through the global campaign.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted racial inequity across the United States. According to the National Innovation Services (NIS), people experiencing homelessness are among those most affected by both the pandemic and the long-standing and compounding impacts of structural racism. The NIS Center for Housing Justice undertook a range of focus groups with people with lived experience of homelessness to improve understanding of the impacts and implications they have for policy and service priorities, through the Framework for an Equitable COVID-19 Homelessness Response project. NIS produced population-specific briefs that included these top policy shifts: 1) crisis response that ends the use of large, 2) congregate shelters; 3) dignity-based services led by communities most affected by homelessness; affordable housing in the most impacted communities; and 4) decriminalization.

On the occasion of World Homelessness Day, UN-Habitat hosted the Housing and Social Protection for all to End Homelessness Roundtable. The virtual event, jointly organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and UN-Habitat, brought together high-level technical experts — our Advisory Committee Chair, Dame Louise Casey; Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Inclusive Social Development of UN DESA;  Christina Behrendt, Head of ILO’s Social Policy Unit, Social Protection Department; Freek Spinnewijn, Director, European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA); Liz Madden, Expert of lived experience of homelessness; and Iris Bailey, Expert of lived experience of homelessness, to discuss the renewed urgency of addressing homelessness within the context of a COVID-19 new normal. Read the World Homelessness Day 2020: Housing And Social Protection At The Core Of Homelessness Prevention Strategies here.

Indigenous Peoples Day is observed each year on the 12th of October. The Homeless Hub describes Indigenous homelessness as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit individuals, families/communities experiencing a lack of stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate means to acquire such housing. Indigenous homelessness is more fully described and understood to encompass Indigenous worldviews, including isolation from their relationships to land, animals, cultures, languages, identities, etc. Métis scholar and author of Definition of Indigenous Homelessness in Canada, Jesse Thistle,and international leader in indigenous health, Janet Smylie’s 2020 article Pekiwewin (Coming Home): Advancing Good Relations with Indigenous People Experiencing Homelessness outlines clinical guidelines for health and social service providers seeking to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples experiencing homelessness. Making the Shift’s In Conversation webinar series recently welcomed Thistle as its first guess for Jesse Thistle on Indigenous Homelessness in Canada and the role of lived experience in research.

World Statistics Day is an annual, global collaborative endeavour, organized under the guidance of the United Nations Statistical Commission on the 20th of October. The 2020 theme — Connecting the World With Data We Can Trust, reflected on the importance of trust, authoritative data, innovation, and the public good in national statistical systems.

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