Homelessness: A Vincentian Concern

Responding to homelessness has always been central to the Vincentian mission. St Vincent de Paul led and inspired work with homeless children, refugees and other displaced people, and those living on the streets. The global Vincentian family continues this work in more than 150 countries. To mark the 400th anniversary of the birth of the charism, the Vincentian family launched the FamVin Homeless Alliance and decided to commit to an intensified program for five years. This global initiative is a project to end homelessness throughout the world.  

Alongside the preparation and delivery of practical projects to reduce homelessness in local situations, attention is also given to work for wider structural changeTogether, the Vincentian Family and the Institute for Global Homelessness are partnering to create a powerful advocacy effort within the United Nations that will catalyze global momentum into concrete action that will reduce homelessness around the world. 

Institute for Global Homelessness at DePaul University 

In these times of social distance, the global movement to end homelessness is growing even stronger and more connected. Webinars, conference calls, online resources, and email lists abound as we learn from each other how to best handle the “new normal.” Continuously expanding our knowledge about global homelessness is essential. However, knowing the facts is not enough. The knowledge must prompt action.  

Founded in 2014, DePaul University’s Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) leads global action to end street homelessness. 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.” To support those goals, IGH uses three signature strategies of “see it, solve it, share it” to achieve its mission to eradicate global homelessness. 

To “see it,” IGH advocates for international homelessness policy by promoting a shared definition of global homelessness and urging measurement. IGH is well respected as a global expert on homelessness within the United Nations (UN), serving as “key strategic partner” of the UN NGO Working Group to End Homelessness (previously chaired by Fr. Memo Campuzano, now DePaul’s Vice President of Mission and Ministry. In February 2020, the UN Commission on Social Development issued the first resolution on homelessness in more than thirty years, creating a strong lever for further advocacy and international policy. 

To “solve it,” our A Place to Call Home initiative works in deep collaboration with a cohort of cities to reduce their street homelessness. A local leadership team is established, and IGH experts visit each city to assess and recommend strategies; help set specific goals, establish implementation plans and track progress. 

To “share it,” IGH regularly hosts conferences, summits, leadership programs, and an online resource center called the IGH Hub to promote what works in ending street homelessness around the world. We recently launched an online Community of Impact as a collaborative and dynamic global network of knowledge. In all our sharing, we embed learning around homelessness, health, diversity and inclusion, and anti-racism principles.  

All of our actions and activities are rooted in our great responsibility and duty every day to listen, learn from, and witness people experiencing homelessness, and all other forms of marginalization and injustice which often lead to homelessness, and follow their lead in creating solutions for a world that honors their humanity and dignity. We believe that everyone deserves a home that offers safety, security, autonomy, and opportunity and we work in partnership every day to bring that belief closer to reality.  

Learn more about how you can help IGH end global homelessness.