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Leveraging the European Consensus to Win the Fight against Homelessness – 9-10 June 2016, Brussels, Belgium

FEANTSA’s annual European policy conference brought together 300 homelessness practitioners from across Europe and beyond. It was the only European event of its kind, and it took place the city of Brussels, Belgium. As always, it showcased various innovative practices to address the causes and symptoms of homelessness, and stimulated 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 was 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 was organised in cooperation with FEANTSA, the Belgian Public Planning Service - Social Integration, Housing First Belgium, and Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijswerk.

Programme: EN, FR, NL



Thursday 9th June

Plenary I

The Political Governance of Housing First and Housing Led Policies

How has Canada scaled up Housing First?
Cameron Keller, National Director of the Canadian experiment At Home/Chez Soi 2009-2013

Latest Evidence and learnings from the Belgian experiment
Coralie Buxant, General Coordinator of Housing First Belgium

Plenary II

Spread and growth of Housing First practices and evidence in Europe

State of play of Housing First in Europe
Volker Busch-Geertsema, Head of European Observatory on Homelessness

Launch of the Housing First Guide Europe (I)
Maria José Aldanas, Project Officer, FEANTSA

Launch of the Housing First Guide Europe (II)
Nicholas Pleace, University of York, UK

Workshop Session I

1: Successfully changing the paradigm to end homelessness

"Step forward" - When an emergency social service develops a Housing First Programme
Laurence Bourguignon, Samu Social Brussels, Belgium

From Hostel to Housing First: Experiences by the Salvation Army in Finland
Eero Untamala, Development Coordinator, Y-Foundation, Finland

2: Social inclusion: back to the community or back to work?

How to apply the Individual Placement and Support model to the Housing First target group?
Silvano Gueli, Promarex - Vocational Rehabilitation Charleroi; Catherine Depasse, Promarex NGO, CPAS de Charleroi & Housing First Belgium

The impact of a gradual return to work for homeless people
Catherine Paquemar, Premières Heures - Emmaüs France

3: Landlords: public and private partners

Landlords: public and private partners
Roberto Bernad, Project Evaluation and Quality Director in RAIS Foundation, involved in Housing First Spain

The role of the "capteur logement" to improve access to housing and housing retention
Arnaud Jacquinet, Relais Social de Liège & Housing First Belgium

Different forms of social housing - advantages and challenges
Maria Clemensen, head of the act-team and Housing First in Copenhagen, Denmark

4: How can interdisciplinary support better answer the multiple and complex needs of the Housing First target group?

The added values and specific challenges of a support team composed of various instituions of a local network
Renaud De Backer - Relais Social de Namur & Housing First Belgium, Belgium

Multiply skills on a Housing First team to support the recovery process
Olivier Vilt and Bruno Torregrossa, Coordinators - Un Chez soi d’abord, Lille/Paris, France

5: Providing Support in Housing First: user’s choice, recovery and a strengths-based approach

Supporting the user’s choices as a Housing First team
Kimberley Van Daele, OCMW Ghent & Housing First Belgium; Sanne Coremans, CAW Antwerpen & Housing First Belgium

Recovery and a strengths-based approach
Judith Wolf, Professor of Social Care and head of Impuls, The Netherlands Centre for Social Care Research, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands

Workshop Session II

6: Finding the homes: innovative ways of providing housing for Housing First services

Creation of social housing with private investors
Emilie Meesen, Infirmiers de rue Bruxelles & Housing First Belgium; Véronique Foubert, Social Rental Agency in Molenbeek, Belgium

Non-scattered housing, challenges and added-values
Gilles rod and Sam Schmitz, CNDS Luxembourg

7: Leveraging networks to address the Housing First complexities

Leveraging networks to address the Housing First complexities
Petter Dahle, Deputy head at Housing First Network, Norway

The added value of networking in the implementation and evaluation and on solving case management
Karolien Scheppens, CAW Hasselt & Housing First Belgium

Building a network around housing first: a communitarian approach
Caterina Cortese, Social Policy and Research Officer, fioPSD, Italy

8: Encouraging housing retention and recovery for tenants with addictions

Encouraging housing retention and recovery for tenants with addictions
Tino Ruyters, Free Clinic, Belgium

Housing First and Harm reduction: tools and values
Muriel Allart, Coordinator of the Housing First project at SMES-B/Housing First Belgium

Lessons learned in the Turning Point Scotland Housing First Programme
Patrick McKay, Operations Manager, Turning Point Scotland, United Kingdom

9: Getting started: Tools available for workers and policy makers

How to start Housing First as an organisation or as a support team?
Marjorie Lelubre & Charlotte Brosius, Housing First Belgium evaluation team, Belgium

Housing First Guide Europe
Maria Jose Aldanas, Project officer, FEANTSA

10: Ask the real experts: the added value of hands-on experience in teams and in developing innovative policies

Experts by experience: Hands-on experts in poverty and their added value in implementing innovative public policies.
Olivier Van Goethem & Janetta Danyiova, Expert by experience, Belgian Public Planning Service - Social Integration

The role of the Peer worker in a Housing first service
Rebecca Sloan, Senior worker, Housing First Project Changing Lives, United Kingdom

Friday 10th June

Workshop session I

1: Homelessness: highlighting different gender perspectives, challenges, and solutions

Specific challenges encountered by homeless fathers.
Marleen Heylen, CAW De Kempen, Belgium

The vital role housing plays in tackling and responding to domestic abuse.
Gudrun Burnet, Peabody, UK

2: Innovative housing solutions for homeless people

Good quality housing for very vulnerable people: the Domus project.
Sara Waelbers, Housing support worker, CAW Antwerpen, Belgium

Can empty housing genuinely be converted into real solutions for homeless people?
Bronagh D’Arcy, Development Director, Túath Housing, Ireland

3: Experience the Shared Solutions participatory methodology in practice

Key question to participants: “How can co-production be an effective way to deliver services?

Sanna Tivola, No Fixed Abode, Finland
David Kidd, Glasgow Homelessness Network, Scotland

4: Effective health interventions for homeless people – building bridges across sectors

Data matching: understanding the impact of homelessness on health services. Neil Hamlet, National Health Service, Scotland, UK

Mental health and homelessness: providing support to frontline workers working with homeless people.
Mahe Aja, Psychologist, Coordinator of the mental health support team, SMES-Belgique, Belgium

5: Are you in? Building a European movement to end street homelessness

BSHF in partnership with FEANTSA is coordinating the European End Street Homelessness Campaign - a new pan European movement of cities, working together to permanently house Europe’s most vulnerable people and end chronic street homelessness in those cities by 2020.
Speakers talk about the experience of three of the early participating cities in the campaign Barcelona, Valencia, and London.

Marta Olaria, Advocacy officer, Arrels Fundació, Spain
Luis Perea (Strategic Development Director) and and Begoña Pastor (Director for Mediterranean Area), RAIS Fundación, Spain
Petra Salva, Director of Services, St. Mungos, UK

Workshop session II

6: Access to adequate accommodation for asylum seekers and the role of the homeless sector

Asylum reform in France and the evolving role of the homeless sector.
Juliette Delaplace, Migration policy officer, FNARS, France

The impact of the rising tide of asylum-seekers on the homeless sector in Germany.
Thomas Specht, Director, BAG-Wohnungslosenhilfe, Germany

7: Housing first/Housing led: Is it necessary to change the paradigm?

The role of social experimentation in driving change in the homeless sector : observations from Belgium.
Coralie Buxant, Coordinator, Housing First Belgium

European consensus-building to shift thinking in the homeless sector: key steps to launching the Housing First Europe online guide.
Maria-José Aldanas, Project officer, FEANTSA

8: National strategy on homelessness – key to success or pitfall?

Evaluation of the Danish homelessness strategy: mixed results.
Lars Benjaminsen, Researcher, SFI, Denmark

Dutch homelessness strategy – the key role of local authorities.
Rina Beers, Senior policy officer, Federatie Opvang, The Netherlands

9: How much does homelessness cost – the pros and cons of cost-efficiency argument

Results of recent research on costs of homelessness in Belgium – reflection on implications for public policy.
Danny Lescrauwaet, Steunpunt Algemeen Welzijswerk, Belgium

Human rights versus cost-effectiveness as drivers of public policy to address homelessness.
Julien Damon, Associate professor Sciences Po Paris, France

10: How can we effectively work together to prevent and end youth homelessness?

Policy recommendations on ways to address the effects of homelessness on children and young people in Flanders.
Bruno Vanobbergen & Leen Ackaert, Childrens Rights Commissioner, Belgium

A Way Home: innovative and effective model for prevention and collaboration to end youth homelessness in Canada.
Melanie Redman, Executive Director, A Way Home, Canada & Stephen Gaetz, Professor and Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, York University, Toronto, Canada