RSHM Attend UN Commission on Social Development

Posted February 18, 2020

The 58th session of the Commission for Social Development, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary year, took place in February 2020 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  The priority theme this year was affordable housing and social protection systems to address homelessness.
Sr. Veronica Brand, our RSHM NGO representative and a member of NGO Committee on Social Development, was one of the organizers and presenters of a side event “The Links between Inequalities, Inadequate Housing and Homelessness.” Using video clips created in July during the General Chapter, Sr. Veronica presented information about the ASMARE recycling project in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, whereby former street pickers and street-dwellers belong to a cooperative, resulting in benefits such as empowerment, improvements in their working and living conditions, and greater self-esteem.
A number of RSHM attended a variety of side events. Sr. Ellen O’Leary from the Northern European Province came from Ireland for the week; also attending various sessions were Sisters Virginia Dorgan, Kathleen Kanet, Georgette Lawton, Joanne Safian, and Maria Timoney, as well as colleagues of Sister Georgette at Columba Kavanagh House.
Throughout the various sessions, it became clear that homelessness, a global problem, has numerous, complex, and interrelated causes: lack of affordable and safe housing, poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, war, climate disasters, and lack of support systems such as health care. In other sessions participants learned of some of the successful and often more unconventional efforts to address these challenges. Most moving was listening to people who are homeless sharing their stories. In the end, it is clear that safe adequate housing is a human right and that homelessness is a human rights violation.

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