8th of April - International Roma Day

FEANTSA Statement: Addressing homelessness and poor housing among Roma communities in the post-2020 national strategies for Roma equality, inclusion, and participation

Download the Full Statement Here

In 2020, the EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation was launched by the European Commission, followed in 2021 by a Council Recommendation on Roma equality, inclusion and participation. As FEANTSA noted in previous reactions[1], the two initiatives give increased attention to the housing situation and include measures addressing Roma experiences of homelessness. This is important as the housing situation across Roma communities in the EU continues to be difficult and access to housing is hardened by discrimination – a 2020 study of the European Commission showed that 43% of Roma are discriminated against when trying to buy or rent accommodation. Member States have been mandated by the Commission and the Council to transpose these recommendations, together with other important areas of intervention included in the EU Roma framework, and to submit their national plans under the 2020 - 2030 Roma Strategic Framework by September 2021. As of March 2022, 14 Member States have submitted an updated strategy, while 6 of them requested an extension of the deadline and 6 others have an ongoing strategy. 

Together with our members and partners, we have analysed the content of ten national strategies, with a focus on whether measures to support individuals experiencing homelessness have been included by Member States. From this overview, it is possible to conclude that: a) homelessness is not sufficiently addressed in most of the national strategies that we have consulted, even if certain types of homelessness (though not explicitly under this term) or the general poor housing conditions among Roma are mentioned; and that b) similarly, Roma exercising their right to free movement within the EU (Roma mobile EU citizens) only appear sporadically in the strategies, if they are mentioned at all. Only the French strategy targets this group, dedicating it a separate section. We would like to highlight that the lack of these two elements in the national strategies is not in line with the references contained in the 2021 Council Recommendation where homelessness among Roma, including those exercising free movement, is specifically mentioned. Therefore, we strongly encourage Member States to further update the national action plans on Roma inclusion by considering situations of homelessness. 

On International Roma Day, FEANTSA stresses the importance of adopting updated and ambitious national strategies for the equality, inclusion and participation of Roma across EU, who are particularly affected by the existing housing crises in Europe and often risk homelessness when they cannot afford paying rent costs[2] or when travelling to another Member State where they cannot access accommodation. We also take this opportunity to draw attention to the Ukrainian nationals of Roma background fleeing the war who remain exposed to discrimination when looking for protection.[3] Member States must consider these factors affecting Roma across the EU and take action to address such situations.

To all Roma, on International Roma Day, we wish you strength to continue the struggle for realising Roma rights across Europe – Opre Roma! But Bersh Angle!

[1]https://www.feantsa.org/en/feantsa-position/2021/03/22/feantsa-reaction-the-council-of-the-european-union-recommendation-for-roma-equality-inclusion-and-participation-could-represent-a-step-further-in-ending-homelessness-among-roma-communities?bcParent=27 and https://www.feantsa.org/en/feantsa-position/2021/03/22/feantsa-reaction-the-council-of-the-european-union-recommendation-for-roma-equality-inclusion-and-participation-could-represent-a-step-further-in-ending-homelessness-among-roma-communities?bcParent=27
[2] https://ergonetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/11-Housing-and-assistance-for-the-homeless-2.pdf
[3] https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanRomaRightsCentre/videos/279920197649278/