Fr. Tomaž Mavrič CM launched the Family Global Homeless Initiative at the Vincentian Family Symposium and the meeting with the Holy Father.
This major global project aims at reducing and, where possible, ending homelessness in the countries in which it works. It will involve both immediate holistic care for those suffering homelessness and a campaign for systemic change in the way that homelessness is tackled at a local, regional and global level.
This Vincentian initiative arose as a response to a global emergency: the UN has estimated that more than 1.2 billion people on this planet have no fixed abode and that this number probably will grow due to poverty, economic crises, wars, natural disasters, and urbanization. The initiative also results from the spiritual and material fruit of this Jubilee Year, which could not help but focus on those who do not have a roof over their heads. This commitment has distinguished the Vincentian Family from the beginnings of the Charism, as a sign of how charity is done and done well, encouraging and organizing it, which was always the inspirational principle for the works of Saint Vincent de Paul.
The project, undoubtedly one of the most ambitious in the history of the Vincentian movement, will be carried out thanks to collaboration with Depaul International, which operates in seven countries and assists more than 22,000 homeless each year and has been working with the Vincentian Family for 27 years. The underlying concept, “dream” or vision if you wish, is to change the lives of thousands of homeless people, bringing their voices to a global plane so that politicians on the local, national, and international levels hear them, until they reach the UN.
Currently it is estimated that the homeless are divided globally into three areas: those living on the street, those living in refugee/asylum-seeker camps, and those living in slums and favelas throughout the world. At this time, calculations indicate some 65 million refugees internationally, the highest number ever recorded. There are 863 million men, women, and children living in hovels and favelas worldwide. The data are clear: there are growing numbers of people living in the streets, both in Europe and around the world, people who have fallen through the safety net and need help to reintegrate into communities.
In this context, the Vincentian Family Homeless Alliance hopes to make a difference in the lives of these hundreds of thousands of people, encouraging, globally, the growth of new opportunities for refugees, slum dwellers, and those who live on the street. It wants to build a stronger collaborative network among the Vincentian groups who care for the homeless, as well as supporting the development of this network and its emerging leaders. It plans to share research, techniques, and concrete operational models within agencies and countries by using websites and organizing conferences. It aims at encouraging and sustaining the growth of new and innovative services; supporting local, regional, and global lobbying in defense of homeless people; developing and making available formation material to support this initiative through spiritual accompaniment.
Finally, with the help of the recently founded Institute of Global Homelessness, located in Chicago at DePaul University, it seeks to solve the problem of homelessness in 150 countries around the world by 2030, through collaboration with other organizations that work in this field.
FB: Famvin Homeless Alliance E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org