Albert Schweitzer Institute hosts session on homelessness at the United Nations

photo of five people at the United Nations

T

he Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University hosted “Reducing inequalities for the homeless in Connecticut” at the United Nations during the 58th Session of the Commission for Social Development.

This year’s session focused on housing and social inclusion of those experiencing homelessness. Leaders from nations around the world came together on February 12 to engage in meaningful discussion and debate on the current social and economic structure of homelessness and social protection systems for all to address homelessness.

Through a partnership between ASI and the Columbus House of New Haven, Sean Duffy, professor of political science and executive director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute, and Tracy Van Oss, clinical professor of occupational therapy, presented on the value of civil society partnerships to address the needs of this population in Connecticut. 

“We were joined on the panel by Hebe Kudisch and Allison Cunningham,” said Duffy. “Kudisch is the chief program officer for Columbus House and Cunningham is the past CEO of Columbus House and currently the Director of Professional Formation at the Yale Divinity School. Both of them work with Van Oss and have a great deal of experience with homelessness and providing services to those experiencing homelessness in Connecticut.”

In addition to Duffy and Van Oss, Lynne Hodgson, emerita professor of sociology and gerontology, Michael Szwaja ‘21 and Kristy Latella ’18, MS ’20, participated in the event. 

“Being able to personally look at and learn from the historical artifacts and monuments from countries around the world was fascinating to me,” said Szwaja “It was incredible to be in the same room as important leaders from nations around the world to learn more about the current initiatives and plans for global social development. From this, I am inspired to continue to explore opportunities to be more involved in international social affairs in my endeavors."

Quinnipiac has partnered with the United Nations for more than a decade. ASI has maintained consultative status as a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations since 2005. Additionally, as a member of the board of directors of Columbus House, Van Oss has organized several learning experiences for her students to address the needs of persons experiencing homelessness in Connecticut.