By Sister Eileen Reilly, Director of SSND UN-NGO Office
The Vincentian Family – those groups that trace their roots back to St. Vincent dePaul, such as the Vincentian Priests, the Sisters and Daughters of Charity, the Vincent dePaul Society – have invited SSND and others to join with them in their efforts to end homelessness.
Although this goal is quite ambitious, we are happy to report that after less than two years, our Working Group to End Homelessness has taken a major step foreward. We successfully lobbied the Commission on Social Development to name Homelessnesss as its theme for its 2020 meeting. With this in place, the member states as the United Nations will have the task of addressing the issue in all its forms, in all countries around the world.
In the process, we have learned that some countries have no statistics on homelessness and that some countries deny they have any homeless people.
In all of our efforts so far, we have operated under the theme of “nothing about us, without us.” This means that we give voice to people who are homeless through our working group and in our lobbying efforts. For example, I was deeply moved when Iris, a women who is homeless in New York City, spoke at a UN event about her experience.