Working to End Homelessness

Sister Durstyne Farnan, OP, Dominican Representative at the United Nations

When I arrived at the UN in October 2019 I joined the Working Group to End Homelessness.  Although, I did not have much experience with homelessness I thought it was a good place to begin especially for a social worker.

There was a lot of conversation about the “Resolution.”  I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant until February 2020 when UN DESA held a conference from the 10-19 of February at the UN on the theme: “Affordable housing and social protection for all to address homelessness.” As we prepared for this upcoming weeklong event I began to slowly understand that this was going to be the first time that Civil Society, folks like you and me would be intimately engaged in the formation of this huge conference at the UN. 

The Vincentian community in its last General Chapter committed to  focus on homelessness.  As a result, they became the driving force to bring this global concern to the UN.  It was brilliant. Little did we know at the time that a pandemic was preparing to cross over the world and highlight another pandemic of homelessness.

 It was a weeklong forum under the auspices of UN DESA (Department of Economic and Social Affairs”  DESA is a UN organization that responds to the needs and priorities of the global community. 

In May 2019 representatives from the “End Homelessness Working Group” attended the preparations for the CSocD58 priority theme in Nairobi, Kenya.

With input from the Expert Group on homelessness the representatives came back to the U.S. prepared to finalize the Declaration on Homelessness as well as the Forum that was held in February.

Some of the areas of homelessness were:

Here is the Resolution presented to UN DESA on homelessness  at the Social Forum and accepted in June 2020.  More is needed to development understanding of homelessness and how to bring it to a good conclusion for all.

If you are interested in being a part of the Working Group to End Homelessness please email me at so I can submit your name and contact info to the organizers of this incredible working group.  The group is working virtually and would benefit from your experience. You do not need to be in New York to be a part of the solution.