June 28, 2017 marked the official announcement of the Famvin Homeless Alliance, an initiative of the Worldwide Vincentian Family to reduce, and wherever possible, eliminate homelessness in its multiple forms. This ceremony took place at the European Parliament, by invitation of its president, Antonio Tajani, who wished to honour the work of the followers of St. Vincent de Paul with the people living in poverty, especially with the homeless.

In the context of the 400th anniversary of St Vincent de Paul’s work helping those in poverty, which began in 1617, the Vincentian Family in the 21st century has chosen to focus particularly on the theme “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” In harmony with the global definition of homelessness developed by the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH), the attitude and actions of welcoming the homeless include action with and in favour of people living in the streets, refugees and internally displaced people, slumdwellers… The urgency of this issue is evident: The most recent UN reports on this topic suggest that, of the 7 billion people on this planet, more than 1.2 billion fall within this IGH three-tiered definition of global homelessness. It is one of the great social ills of our time.

Mark McGreevy, Depaul International CEO and coordinator of this project on behalf of the Vincentian Family, explained the choice of the European forum for the official announcement of the initiative: “Europe has been home to the Vincentian Family for 400 years and so it is fitting that the EU Parliament is the place where we celebrate the official announcement of this new project. In partnership, we can do great things together.”

Other speakers at the event included: M. Antonio Tajani himself, Rev. Tomaz Mavric (Superior General and President of the Vincentian Family), Fr. Pedro Opeka (Vincentian priest nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize), and Sr. Carol Keehan (Daughter of Charity, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States).

The launch of this global initiative will take place in a very international forum, in October, during the Symposium of the Vincentian Family in Rome, Italy, in the presence of hundreds of Vincentian Family members from around the world.