An Overview of Global Homelessness and Strategies for Systemic Change
Institute of Global Homelessness (
Katherine Johnson, Mark McGreevy, Molly Seeley
Homelessness is a problem that can be solved with the right mix of program interventions, well-coordinated local systems, and effective policy. We know homelessness can be ended because there are cities that have ended it. Others have seen meaningful reductions in homelessness among certain targeted populations, such as chronically homeless individuals or veterans.
In broad terms, the processes and interventions required to end homelessness are known, though there are adaptations required across cultural, political, and geographical contexts. Some challenges, such as those surrounding rural-urban migration, are more prevalent in developing contexts; others, like homelessness among veterans, are more visible in North America. Still, patterns emerge across countries related to who experiences homelessness and the obstacles to addressing it. These are complex problems that call for shared solutions tailored to local contexts.
This paper will discuss the definition, demographics, major themes, known solutions, and unanswered questions of unsheltered homelessness on a global scale. First, it will explore the necessity of shared vocabulary and suggest the use of the IGH Global Framework for Understanding Homelessness. This framework lays the foundation for comparable data to understand the scope of homelessness in a certain place. The paper will then lay out what is already known about global homelessness, including root causes and key demographics. From there, the paper will discuss the major debates and themes of global homelessness, such as criminalization, and questions of rights and enforcement. The final sections examine effective strategies for systemic change and identify gaps and opportunities for sustained success.
For the purposes of this paper, the term “homelessness” will be used to denote families and individuals that fall within categories 1A – 2C in the IGH Framework. We have decided to focus on this group because these types of “literal homelessness” are generally more prevalent across countries and continents than some of the other categories, which often apply to specific areas. Despite being at the most extreme end of the housing deprivation spectrum, these groups are often neglected in
PUBLICATION DATE: 2017
PUBLISHER(S): Institute of Global Homelessness
Forced Displacement – Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
The briefing paper “Forced Displacement – Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons” sets out to provide a snapshot of forced displacement, its impact and current approaches to finding durable solutions for those that have had no choice but to leave their homes behind. It tries to illustrate the complexity of the issue by touching on a wide range of aspects, including the legal landscape as well as the causes and human costs of displacement. However, due to the multifaceted nature of the subject area, this paper should only be considered as a starting point for further, more in-depth considerations and discussions.
Read more: Briefing on Forced Displacement FHA (ENG)
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There are three primary sources which cause the formation of slums; population growth, rapid
The human cost of living in slums is considerable. Poor sanitation and unclean water results in disease and ill-health. Crime and violence
Solutions have focused on upgrading slums but McKinsey estimates that it will cost around $16 trillion to replace all substandard housing. Some argue that
However, there is still reason for optimism. Improvement in the lives of slum dwellers can occur and has occurred for more than 320 million since 2000. Furthermore, new technology allows components of a house to be built
Read more: Briefing Slum Dwellers FHA (ENG)
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Homelessness, says Father Maloney, “ranked high on Vincent’s agenda” and his initiatives were foundational in establishing the principles of structured and well-administered charity we see today.
He, in fact, dedicated time and effort to accommodate foundling children. Using the money donated by the Queen of Austria, he
He also worked hard to find lodging and assistance for thousands of men, women
Vincent also organized educational programs for to equip teachers for catechizing those living in desperate circumstances. For him, education and job training were extremely important in transforming the lives of the homeless and the poor. Central too were the values which underpinned his work: Saint Vincent demanded diligence and accountability from those who served the poor under his watch.
Fr Maloney argues an emphasis on collaboration and systemic change are essential to an effective and fruitful project and articulates how this can be achieved, especially through listening to and actively involving our homeless brothers and sisters.
Read the article: St. Vincent and the Homeless_ENG