In February, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, at the 58th Commission for Social Development, homelessness was discussed as part of the priority theme ‘Affordable Housing and Social Protection Systems for all to Address Homelessness’. The meetings began Feb 10th and concluded on Feb 19th.
Advocating for Women and Children/Girls at the international level, UNANIMA shared its extensive research report entitled ‘’Hidden Faces of Homelessness: International Research on Families” at the 58th Commission for Social Development, which investigates family homelessness and trauma and includes recommendations. This report is the first to deal with this theme on an international level. UNANIMA partnered with Sophia Housing and New York University to collect quantitative and qualitative data in order to achieve a better understanding of homeless and displacement. In this report UNAMIMA encourages nations to view and treat homelessness as a human rights and civil rights issue as opposed to the failures of the individual.
UNANIMA conducted in-depth case studies on homelessness in India, Ireland, Kenya and the United States. When studying each region, the report focuses on the definition of homelessness, last censuses, the context of homeless and the history of homeless in each region. Each study is concluded with policy and advocacy recommendations for each region. Individual’s lived experience with homelessness was also documented.
Throughout the report “good practices” from each country case were also identified. These are leading organizations, impactful services, and innovative ideas in the national context that UNANIMA believes can be applied or implemented elsewhere internationally. MLRC was cited as an example of an impactful service for free legal advice and representation under the case study of Ireland. MLRC reports such as ‘Lived Experiences of Homeless Families’ and MLRC statistics were also used in the report as a source of information for the case study on Ireland.
The UNANIMA report recommends that the U.N take action to develop a common, global definition of homelessness because without such a definition, the issues cannot properly be measured, compared or actively addressed. The report further notes that while providing enough housing is essential to ending homelessness, this is just the first step. To completely end homelessness, a substantial investment in prevention is required.
UNANIMA also drafted a second report entitled “Family Homelessness: Through the Lens of the United Nations 2030 Agenda” which addresses the issues of family homelessness in the context of the U.N’s efforts to combat poverty and social issues through its sustainable development goals (SDGs). This report contends that combating the issue of family homelessness is essential to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report stipulates that the progress in achieving the eradication of homelessness underpins and can hinder the success and achievement of the SDGS in particular, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 13 and 16. UNANIMA makes specific policy and advocacy recommendations for each of the SDG mentioned. MLRC was also referenced in this report in relation to SDG 16 (Peace Justice and Strong Institutions). MLRC was noted for its policy work and enabling accessing to justice for thousands of vulnerable individuals in housing crisis. MLRC’s work in ensuring that institutions engaged in housing provision act fairly along with its other work aligns with the objectives of SDG 16.
MLRC is delighted to be able to support UNANIMA in its important report on family homelessness and welcomes the recommendations made by UNANIMA in both reports to tackle homelessness on an international level.