Last week, a delegation of the Vincentian Family participated in the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission for Social Development (New York). There was much satisfaction with this event that began in 2017 at the time of the 400th anniversary of the birth of the Vincentian charism. It was during that celebration that a decision was made to join together in the worldwide struggle against homelessness.
Following in the footsteps their founder, Saint Vincent de Paul, the Vincentian Family has identified homelessness as a very serious social “scourge”. Thus, there is am urgent pressing need to provide people not only with a roof and a floor, but to provide people with a home, a place where they can raise a family in a safe and secure environment, a place of peace and a place of belonging.
With this objective, the Vincentian Family has committed itself to become part of a working group on homeless and joined together with forty-one other organizations to bring this matter to the attention of the United Nations.
Throughout its long history of 75 years, rarely has there been any mention of “Homelessness”. The lack of a clear definition of the problem has led the member states and international organizations to ignore one the fundamental rights of humanity, the right to housing. Therefore, the working group to end homelessness has advocated in a tireless manner to include this theme on the agenda of the UN. The result of this process is seen in the fact that the 58th Session of this Commission has now placed homelessness on the agenda of the UN.
This is a revolutionary achievement that, without a doubt, should be viewed as a milestone in this journey that still needs much work and commitment. The fundamental aspect is that each country must analyze this problem, define it and quantify it so that an appropriate policy can be created to address the issue of homelessness within a country. In the last two years, the Working Group has developed a draft resolution for the Member States and has also established partnerships with the missions of the Member States at the United Nations. These two combined efforts resulted in a resolution of the United Nations that gave the following theme to this current year: “accessible housing systems and social protection systems for all, to address homelessness.”
The publication of a document shared by all and signed by all is certainly not the immediate solution to the problem of homelessness, but it is at least one way to start addressing this issue in a global manner.
It should be noted that during this session of the Commission more than sixty parallel events were organized, closely followed by NGOs from around the world. All of this allowed the participants to dialogue, deepen their understanding of the issues, get to know each other and, above all, understand that the path that has been initiated, is now a path shared by many and that this Commission for Social Development has initiated a worldwide movement.
For the Vincentian Family
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