Rome: Symposium on street homelessness and Catholic Social Teaching


Dr Anna Rowlands

Dr Anna Rowlands

Practitioners and theologians are currently meeting in Rome, to discuss global street homelessness in an event hosted by DePaul University's IGH, Depaul International, Niagara University, St John's University, and the University Durham's Centre for Catholic Studies. The event combines the expertise of a host of sources and speakers, all from vastly different backgrounds--some religious, others not--with the aim of allowing on-the-ground experience of solving street homelessness to inform, and be informed by, the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching.

Confronting the issue of street homelessness globally will require collaboration across sectors, societies, and beliefs. The Symposium's participants come from a range of backgrounds and geographies, including India, Chile, Slovakia, Kenya, the Philippines, the UK, and the United States. These perspectives are vital, and will be intrinsic to any works that the Symposium produces.

Those sharing their experiences about what works to address street homelessness and why will include:

Dame Louise Casey, former Director General of the UK Government Troubled Families Programme and the Casey Review Team investigating social integration
Sr Julie George, Director, Streevani charity working with women in Pune, India
Luis Ossa, Leader of the Solidarity ACtion Programme, Hogar de Cristo, Santiago, Chile
Sr Mary Scullion, Executive Director of Project Home, Philadelphia, USA
Rosanne Haggerty, President and CEO, Community Solutions
Philip Mangano, President and CEO, American Roundtable to Abolish Homelessness
Toussaint Kafarhire Murhala SJ, Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Nairobi, Kenya

Those offering thoughts on what Catholicism and in particular Catholic Social Teaching brings to the global conversation on homelessness and human dignity will include:

Cardinal Peter Turkson, Head of the new Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
Profesor Emilce Cuda, Research Professor of Theology, Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina
Father James Keenan, SJ, Canisius Chair and Director, Jesuit Institute and Boston College
Rev Dr Richard Rwiza, Moral theologian, Hekima College, Catholic University of Eastern Africa
Dr Anna Rowlands, St Hilda Associate Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice, University of Durham, UK
Elias Opongo SJ, Director, Hekima Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Nairobi, Kenya

The Symposium hopes that by bringing together leading minds in philosophy, theology, and practice, progress can be made toward bridging the gap between thought and action in order to clearly determine what we already know works and how to implement it alongside highlighting areas where we do not yet have solutions and determine how to find them. These learnings will be used to inform Catholic Social Teaching on the issue of street homelessness moving forward, and determine "the solutions, solace and responsibility required to end the injustice of being without a home."

The Symposium began on 29 November and ends on 2 December. To follow the conversation and contribute your thoughts, follow #CSTHomeless, @ighomelessness or @depaulintl.

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