How are you doing with yours? New Years’ resolutions, a common practice, and a good one if it focuses our energy and determination towards valuable goals. But also a practice that can make us laugh—or cry—6 months later upon review of how well we’ve done with it!
There are lots of resolutions at the United Nations. Documents upon documents. About justice and peace, human rights, equitable development and protection of those less fortunate. How much of it is real, how many resolutions actually matter?
Only if they make it into national policies, i.e. from UN pronouncement to Member State policy and practice.
One historic resolution, achieved by the Vincentian Family NGOs and allies through persistent effort over four years, establishes homelessness as a stand-alone issue. Previously lumped in as one aspect of poverty, homelessness is now seen by the UN as its own issue, to be addressed as such.
General Assembly Resolution 76/133 (16 December 2021) reiterates that the eradication of poverty, hunger and malnutrition, in particular as they affect people experiencing and at risk of homelessness and other people in vulnerable situations, is crucial for the advancement of global sustainable development.
This means something, this matters. The Secretary General must report this year on what the UN has done to reduce homelessness, and countries submitting Volunteer National Reviews in 2023 are to include this issue in their reports.
We will soon see at least glimpses of the impact of the Resolution in these reports.
We know how to end homelessness. Although complex, it is not an unsolvable problem. Studies consistently show that the majority of people stay out of homelessness when they have access to permanent housing they can afford. So Housing First, with appropriate support services.
Since the Vincentian Question always is “What Must Be Done,” what can we do to address homelessness:
NGO Representative of the CM to the UN