22 August 2018
World Meeting of Families

Rossi (APG23), “The invisible world of the homeless, looking for them on the street”

“The homeless constitute an invisible world because of the indifference that surrounds them, a population on the margins of our cities, sometimes right on our doorstep, to which even the most basic rights are denied”. This was stated by Maria Mercedes Rossi, representative of the Pope John XXIII Community, who spoke today at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin. Recalling the latest global survey attempted by the UN in 2005, the delegate highlighted that “nearly 100 million people throughout the world were homeless. Approximately 1.6 billion people did not have adequate housing.” “There a great differences between these people: some have lost their jobs, others are non-EU migrants, drug addicts, elderly, prostitutes, and people with borderline personality disorders, all assembled not only because they do not have a stable home but also because they are denied an officially recognized position, a civil and social status and, above all, because they are burdened by an enormous sense of solitude,” recalled Rossi. To respond to these emergencies, the Pope John XXIII Community has gone out to meet the poor in railway stations, under the bridges, and in all the places where the homeless seek a safe place of shelter for the night. “In 1987, in Rimini, the first ‘Bethlehem Hut’ was opened, an evening and nighttime emergency shelter, where these ‘invisible’ people can find not only a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in but also, through sharing in moments like dinner and just chatting together, the warmth of the family that have had never experienced.”