2016 FEANTSA Policy Conference

Leveraging the European consensus to win the fight against homelessness

Valoriser le consensus Européen: un levier pour vaincre le sans-abrisme

De Europese consensus als hefboom gebruiken om thuisloosheid te beëindigen

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Programme EN
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Programme FR
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Programme NL

Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June 2016

Conference Venue: Palais d’Egmont


In 2010 the Belgian Presidency of the EU organised a European consensus conference on homelessness together with FEANTSA (the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless) and the European Commission. The aim was to establish together with all relevant stakeholders a European consensus on some of the most essential questions related to homelessness. The consensus would then become the basis for a stronger role of the EU in the fight against homelessness. After two days of deliberation following the consensus conference, the jury, under the skilled chairmanship of professor Frank Vandenbroucke, formulated a consensus on the six questions selected by the stakeholders:

1. What does homelessness mean?
2. Ending homelessness: a realistic goal?
3. Are housing led policy approaches the most effective methods of preventing and tackling homelessness?
4. How can meaningful participation of homeless people in the development of homelessness policies be assured?
5. To what extent should people be able to access homeless services irrespective of their legal status and citizenship?
6. What should be the elements of an EU strategy on homelessness?

We believe that the European consensus reached in 2010 is still highly relevant and has not lost its potential to unite forces at European level to reverse the worrying European trend of rapidly growing homelessness. But we cannot ignore that during the last 5 years the world has moved on and the EU is now facing some new and unprecedented challenges. It is time to take stock of the progress made on the conclusions and recommendations of the jury, and to discuss how to further leverage the 2010 European consensus to progress on homelessness in the current political context in the EU.

That is why the Belgian Public Planning Service - Social Integration and FEANTSA decided to co-organise a European conference in Spring 2016 centred on the consensus reached in 2010 and to reinterpret and re-evaluate the consensus in light of new emerging challenges for Europe: increasing poverty, economic pressure on Eurozone and other countries, waves of refugees arriving from further afield, and more.

To this end, FEANTSA is using its annual European policy conference, bringing together 300 homelessness practitioners from across Europe and beyond. This is the only European event of its kind, and it will take place this year in the city of Brussels, Belgium. As always, it will showcase various innovative practices to address the causes and symptoms of homelessness, and stimulate political debate on current and future challenges. Set in a difficult political context with the homelessness sector under mounting stress, there is a greater need than ever of European support to channel energy and resources towards lasting solutions.

This conference will be an opportunity to:

  • Focus on some of the innovation in Belgian cities, including the results of the Housing First Belgium experiment;
  • Debate the European consensus, and ways to move forward together politically at EU level;
  • Showcase good practice in the field of homelessness across Europe in order to drive innovation to promote effective pathways out of homelessness;
  • Organise strategic discussions in a wide range of areas related to homelessness (health, housing, employment, migration, youth, prevention, and more)
  • Visit and discover some of the approaches to tackling forms of homelessness in Brussels.

This is a two-day conference based at the heart of Europe in the city of Brussels taking place on Thursday 9th June and Friday 10th June in the Egmont Palace (city centre). It is organised in cooperation with FEANTSA, the Belgian Public Planning Service - Social Integration, Housing First Belgium, and Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijswerk.

The activities on Thursday 9th June will focus principally on the realities in Belgium with a one-day conference based on the national Housing First experiment in Belgium (set within the wider European context of Housing First developments in other countries) as well as the launch of the Housing First Europe Guide. In addition, we will set up “hotspots” on the Thursday afternoon, offering the possibility of joining visits of Brussels services to address homelessness, as well as strategic networking meetings to bring people together around common issues of interest.

The Friday 10th June will be the main European policy conference with a focus on presenting and discussing innovative practices from across Europe, with opening and closing plenary debates as well as a selection of morning and afternoon workshops (10 in total).

The main working languages of the conference will be English/French/Dutch (including in the workshops). For the Thursday hotspots, informal translation will be provided in the service visits, and the main working language of the networking meetings will be English.


Registrations will open end of March, so watch this space and please be sure to register quickly in order to get a place and to get your first choice of hotspots and workshops.