Over 7,000 lives have been transformed thanks to the “13 Houses” Campaign. In just 3 years this global endeavour has gone from a single house in Macon, Georgia (USA) to more than 70 projects in almost 50 countries with up to 2,000 houses built. Project after project, the “13 Houses” is embracing the homeless in a network of charity weaved by Vincentian collaboration. Behind the number 7,000 are 7,000 stories of people who have been given the opportunity of a fresh start and a chance to leverage for a better life.
We launched the “13 Houses” Campaign in 2018 during our first international conference in Rome (our second Conference is now planned for June 2022, after being delayed several times because of Covid-19 restrictions). Back then, we set a target to change the lives of 10,000 people between 3 and 5 years. We are on track to not only reach this target, but to go further beyond. However, we also set ourselves the goal of having at least one project in each of the 160 countries that has a Vincentian presence, and here, we are still short.
To reach this goal we are calling upon Vincentians across all of these countries that have not yet started a project to join our Campaign and keep embracing more homeless people in a denser network of charity. We have set ourselves the goal of reaching 160 countries between November 27th, Feast of the Miraculous Medal, and March 25th Feast of the Annunciation. We are putting this campaign under the auspices of the Virgin Mary.
We are also challenging countries and branches that already have a project to bring more countries on board, taking Vincentian networks and connections to the next level. We are asking them to map their Vincentian connections with nearby countries and to act on them. In exchange, we offer support to develop new projects and more visibility of projects that accept the challenge.
In 47 countries Vincentians have started “13 Houses” initiatives. In addition, Vincentians in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK have generously participated in the Campaign with donations to the Solidarity Fund. Even some individual Vincentian donors or local groups have sent donations from Austria, Botswana, Italy and Spain. We are grateful to all of them for their solidarity and charitable support of the work of Vincentians elsewhere in the world.
During our first 3 years the “13 Houses” has grown incredibly. Vincent, the first person to benefit from the Campaign, moved to his new home in Macon in 2019. Since then, dozens of projects have sprung across the five continents, some of them in very difficult environments. The diversity of branches, sizes, target populations and approaches shows how creative and innovative the Vincentian Charism is after 400 years of working with the poorest of the poor. From a single home in Tunisia or the “Just One House” initiative in the Philippines, to big scale housing projects like “Welcome Home” in Guatemala or the SSVP in Australia (the biggest to the date with more than 500 housing units), the “13 Houses” Campaign adapts to the local realities and needs.
When we launched the Campaign, we stated that, despite the name, the project does not have to be about building houses. “13 Houses” stands as a metaphor for all those actions that aim to provide safety, community, warmth, hope and a future. We already have many good examples of this, with initiatives supporting immigrant women escaping violence in Spain and South Korea, taking children off the streets in Ghana or supporting people displaced by natural disasters in Indonesia.
For the next 3 years, we want to see the Campaign growing, reaching more countries, bringing more Vincentians together and changing more lives. Our focus will move from street homelessness to slum dwellers and refugees, weaving an even deeper network of charity with Vincentians around the world. Because we can end homelessness, one house at a time! Join us!