FEANTSA has launched a Campaign with the following 5 demands:
For EU policymakers to work with national governments, regions, municipalities and stakeholders on the ground to put an end to homeless in Europe by:
1. Making more effective use of existing policy instruments
The EU has called on Member States to design and implement integrated strategies to tackle homelessness.
Most countries are not delivering, and EU policy instruments are not being used to their full potential.
The EU should set a target of ending homelessness as part of its 2030 agenda.
2. Supporting homeless people in all relevant sectoral areas
Many solutions lie in areas beyond specific "homelessness policies"
Unfortunately, these other policies are often blind to homelessness
Responses to homelessness should be mainstreamed into the design and implementation of relevant EU sectoral policies including youth, gender, migration, disability, mobility, cohesion and urban development.
3. Monitoring homelessness and benchmarking progress at Member State level
The EU plays a key role in monitoring and benchmarking socio-economic indicators across Member States.
The EU statistical toolkit does not cover homelessness data, making it difficult to track and compare progress.
Homelessness should be an integral element of social analysis carried out by the European Commission.
4. Defending the rights of homeless people
Homeless people have the same basic human rights as everyone else.
These rights are frequently violated - and worse still, criminalised in different Member States.
The EU can and should act to enforce fundamental rights, social rights and the rights of all EU citizens.
5. Investing EU funds in ending homelessness
Homelessness has significant human, societal and economic costs. Tackling it is a good investment for the future.
Current resources at EU and national level are not enough to deliver lasting solutions.
EU instruments like the European Structural and Investment Funds and the European Fund for Strategic Investment should be used to help Member States deliver smart, sustainable solutions.
How did we get here? The State of Homelessness in Europe
Over the past decade, only two European countries have seen a reduction in the number of homeless people: Finland and Norway. The rest of the continent has seen a continuing upward trend in the number of people sleeping rough or living in inadequate accommodation/housing. The demographics of homelessness are also changing, with children becoming the largest group of people in emergency shelters. Women, young adults, the working poor, people with a migration background and people in the LGBTIQ community are also becoming increasingly numerous among the homeless population.
Not only is this a clear violation of human rights, it also has serious knock-on effects on social cohesion and economic growth.
European political context
In the eyes of EU citizens, the social dimension of the European project has lost credibility over the last few years. In the context of austerity and budget cuts, the lack of action on social inclusion and poverty has left the most vulnerable behind. This was no clearer than when banks were being bailed out at the same time as families were being evicted from their homes. There are some positive signs, however, that the European Union is now striving to correct this imbalance and to strengthen its social dimension.
EU Member States have adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Programme, which is a results-based commitment to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Of these, Objective 1.1 – the complete eradication of extreme poverty and Objective 11.1 – access for all to housing and adequate, safe basic services and access to affordable prices – both require rapid progress on the issue of homelessness in Europe.
European Pillar of Social Rights
At the end of 2017, the European Commission, European Parliament and the European Council declared the European Pillar of Social Rights, which commits the EU and its Member States to comply with twenty rights and principles in the areas of equality of opportunity and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, social protection and social inclusion. It addresses the right to housing and assistance for homeless people in its 19th priority:
Access to high-quality social housing or housing assistance shall be provided for those in need
Vulnerable people have the right to appropriate assistance and protection against forced eviction
Adequate shelter and services shall be provided to the homeless in order to promote social inclusion
These political developments, as well as others such as the new Multiannual Financial Framework and the European Semester, reflect the European Union’s efforts to address citizens’ scepticism regarding the EU’s ability to improve their quality of life and deal with urgent social issues. In early 2018, the EU Urban Agenda’s Urban Poverty Partnership called for i) a 2030 target to end homelessness in Europe, ii) capacity building for more efficient use of EU funds to combat homelessness, iii) prioritise the use of evidence based practices such as housing first and iv) using human rights based approaches to tackling urban poverty and homelessness.
The stakes are high for the coherence of the European project, in a context where Brexit has been made possible and where Euroscepticism and extremism are gaining ground.
This is why in March 2017 we launched our campaign to put homelessness firmly on the EU agenda.
Throughout the rest of this section, you will find:
A range of campaign resources which can be downloaded in the resources section.
Information on all campaign-related events (past and future) can be found in the events section.
If you would like to show your support for the campaign on social media, please use #BeFairEU. We encourage you to tweet your local, national and European policy-makers using this hashtag and to ask them to pledge their support to Stand Up for Homeless People.
If you have any questions about the Be Fair, Europe – Stand Up for Homeless People, please contact Laura Rahman.