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The humanitarian crisis related to the significant influx of people looking for asylum has generated a heated debate in the European Union that has attracted a lot of media attention and engaged not only policy makers but also public opinion. A situation that undeniably presents important challenges to tackle has become an emergency because of a lack of coordination between Member States, inadequate asylum policies and structural problems with regards to the provision of services and access to housing. Member States need to invest in reception services in the short term and in housing in the longer term but national actions need to be coordinated an facilitated at EU level if we really want to achieve a common asylum system and properly implement EU legislation. Therefore, most importantly, the EU needs to acknowledge the important role played by the homeless sector in providing accommodation and other basic services to asylum applicants, to refugees as well as to those whose asylum application is refused. To develop adequate migration and asylum policies, access to housing needs to be the priority: once newcomers have a place in which they can live with dignity, access to services and to the labour market and in the end effective integration into society can become a reality.

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