Welcome (back) to the FEANTSA Flash!
It’s been another busy month, in particular when it comes to the Corona crisis. Both the office and our members have had all hands on deck alerting of the immediate danger homeless people are in, attempting to provide recommendations, and taking immediate measures. However, we have plenty of other things going on too – and you can read all about it below.
Feel free to send us some tips for the next edition of the Flash by writing to us here.
Due to the COVID19 pandemic, our board has taken the collective decision to postpone our policy conference until later in the year. We are committed to hosting the conference, and are currently reviewing alternative options. Thank you for your understanding.
FEANTSA Breakfast Bites Webinar series
With many of our members and our network scaling back their services and asking some of their teams to work remotely where possible, FEANTSA has started a weekly webinar series. It will run every Wednesday morning for the next few weeks and aims to connect professionals from across Europe, further our vision of preventing and ending homelessness, and facilitate professional development where possible. Find out more here.
FEANTSA Youth Webinar
Between January & May 2020 we're holding a monthly webinar with our FEANTSA Youth Network. Each webinar will last 60 minutes. Two experts will present on a topic related to youth homelessness and will include time to ask questions to each of the speakers. The next one will take place on 24th April and will focus on Financing Youth Housing Solutions. To register for the April session, please see here. To find out more about the FEANTSA Youth Webinar series, please see here.
Information exchange on COVID19 and homelessness
With homeless people the most exposed to the virus, we have been working together with our members to exchange and inform on the state of affairs and measures taken by governments and our members concerning COVID19. With this aim, we have set up a Google mailing group. Members of the group can send updates on the situation from their country and/or follow the news from other countries. If you are interested in joining, please contact us here.
Last chance to contribute: Please support our efforts to improve Harm Reduction support for people experiencing homelessness and participate in our survey
The European survey on current Harm Reduction support for people experiencing homelessness will close soon. Help us to assess what Harm Reduction services are in place in your country here. For more information and any questions please contact project officer Ruth Kasper or access the ‘Harm Reduction 4 Homelessness’ project website.
Call for Best Practices for ending youth homelessness
This year FEANTSA will put together a guide of best practices for combatting youth homelessness. We’d like to hear from your service if you have an interesting practice specifically targeted at the needs of young people experiencing homelessness then get in touch with Robbie.
FEANTSA Statement: “Staying home not an option for people experiencing homelessness”
Self-confinement is a measure aiming to reduce the transmission of the Coronavirus. But with over 700,000 people roofless each night in the EU, with no home to go to, and limited access to health services, what can be done to try to control the pandemic amongst the homeless population? We have collected information and practices from across several countries in the EU and compiled some guidelines in this statement. Read it here.
Seven measures authorities must take to protect homeless people from COVID19
In addition to the statement cited above, we developed a list of 7 measures authorities must take to protect homeless people from Covid19. We call for public authorities at local, regional, national and European level to implement them to protect homeless people and public health. Read about it here.
Framework for defining youth homelessness in Europe
Youth homelessness in Europe often goes under the radar of policy makers and services. This framework looks at the specific situation of young people experiencing homelessness in Europe and provides a framework that services and policy makers can use to define ‘youth homelessness’ in their context. Read it here.
UK – Groundswell and Homeless Link publish guidance on COVID19
Groundswell has published a short explanatory sheet on COVID19 for people who are sleeping rough, which can be consulted here. Homeless Link has published a set of recommendations for action in the UK homeless sector, which can be consulted here.
Greece- Solidarity Now calling for urgent hotspot decongestion
With thousands of asylum-seekers living in deplorable conditions on the islands, Solidarity Now is calling for immediate decongestion to avoid a health catastrophe amongst this highly vulnerable population. Read their press release here.
Spain – Hogar Sí publishes infographic and recommendations for police during quarantine
Confinement measures have brought about many issues when it comes to people experiencing homelessness. With reports of police fining homeless people for not self-isolating, Hogar Sí has developed an infographic with basic information about homelessness, and published recommendations, aimed specifically at informing police forces. Find out more here.
Italy - Fio.PSD urges authorities to stop fining homeless people
In a similar context, Fio.PSD has written a letter addressed to the Minister of Internal Affairs and to the Minister of Employment and Social Affairs, urging them to take immediate measures to stop police forces from sanctioning homeless people who are self-isolating.
Czech Republic – Nadeje will have major role in new Prague measure to stop the transmission of COVID19 amongst homeless population
Following the declaration of a state of emergency in the Czech Republic, Prague has decided to accommodate homeless people in some of the city's hotels, hostels and lodging houses. The purpose is to limit the spread of COVID19 contagion not only within this group of individuals but also outside of it. Homeless people will be taken care of there by main social services providers, such as Nad?je, Salvation Army and Charita, with the support of smaller services and volunteers.
Spain – Hogar Sí develops recommendations for telephone support
In the context of the pandemic, Hogar Sí developed recommendations for telephone support by social services. For more information, get in touch with us.
UK – new report on Homelessness Reduction Act by Crisis
2 years after the Homelessness Reduction Act first entered into force, Crisis assesses the state of affairs. The report shows there are positive signs that people are getting access to the help they need and are being treated with dignity but that there is a shortage of housing and welfare which is pushing people into homelessness. Read more here.
European (and World) News
UN General Assembly – Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Leilani Farha presents end of mandate report
On 5th March, the UN Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha, presented the final report of her mandate in Geneva. The report contains Guidelines for the Implementation of the Right to Adequate Housing, focusing on the key requirements of effective rights-based responses. Particularly welcomed by FEANTSA is Guideline No. 5. which demands the elimination of homelessness in the shortest possible time and stop the criminalisation of persons living in homelessness. You can read the full report here.
European Commission proposes changes to FEAD (Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived) in light of Corona Crisis
In the current context, the most vulnerable are even more at risk than they are to begin with. In light of this, the European Commission is proposing changes to FEAD (Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived), amongst which 100% financing rate (instead of 85%), eligibility of the expenditure for FEAD operations that are fostering crisis response capacities to the Coronavirus outbreak, eligibility of expenditure related to protective equipment for partner organisations, programmes distributing food/basic material assistance can be amended as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, and there is a possibility of delivering food aid and basic material assistance through electronic vouchers (lower risk of contamination), and more. Read about it here.
MEPs submit written question to European Commissioner for employment and social affairs on a EU Framework for national homelessness strategies
Members of the European Parliament Katrin Langensiepen, Terry Reintke, Kim Van Sparrentak, Petra de Sutter, Kira Marie Peter-Hansen and Mounir Satouri (Greens-EFA Group) and Klára Dobrev and Marc Angel (Socialists & Democrats Group) have submitted a written question to the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Nicolas Schmit. The MEPs ask whether the Commission can confirm it will take stronger action to support Member States in their efforts to eradicate homelessness , and whether it will consider developing a EU Framework for national homelessness strategies.
EU Solidarity fund amended to cover health emergencies like COVID-19
The EU Solidarity Fund (€500M /year) has been amended to cover health emergencies such as COVID-19. Provision of temporary accommodation is an eligible expense. This means the fund can be used to pay for housing for the homeless to allow them to properly self-isolate in empty hotels, vacant housing, etc.
USA – New York Officials receive poor marks for enduring homelessness crisis
The Coalition for the Homeless say the enduring homelessness crisis will not improve unless officials dramatically change their approach. The number of single adults sleeping in shelters each night grew by 143 percent between December 2009 and the end of last year. Politico has the story.
International - When governments sell out to developers, housing is no longer a human right
In this opinion piece for the Guardian, UN Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha denounces the financialisation of housing, how it happened and its effects on the general population.
UK - Homelessness: Councils 'telling people to contact private landlords'
Councils are being forced to "leave homeless people on the streets" because of a chronic lack of affordable housing in their areas, Crisis has said. Read the story by BBC here.
France – Coronavirus: homeless people at risk
Our member Fédération des Acteurs de la Solidarité (FAS) denounces a critical situation in France: a lack of sufficient accomodation, the impossibility of implementing social distancing in shelters, the sudden lack of volunteers to distribute food supplies. Read the story in Le Point.
Brussels – the municipality of Etterbeek (Brussels) has seized a hotel to allow homeless people to self-isolate
In line with the self-confinement measures decided by the government, Etterbeek municipality (part of the capital region of Brussels) has seized an unoccupied hotel so people experiencing homelessness can self-isolate. La Libre reports. In addition to Etterbeek, three other municipalities in the Brussels region have done the same.
France – French government to distribute “lunch vouchers” to homeless people
In response to an increasing shortage of food and hygiene services for people experiencing homelessness, the French government will distribute "service vouchers" to homeless people to purchase basic necessities. The vouchers amount to up to €7 per person per day. With this measure the government hopes to reach 600.000 homeless people. Read more in Le Monde here.
Italy - “Our clients would like to stay at home, but where is their home?”
The social sector in Italy denounce a double standard when it comes to the Government’s prevention measures regarding the spread of COVID-19. The interviewees mention overcrowding and hence non-compliance with social distancing measures, a risk for their staff and volunteers working on the frontline, and call for investment in housing. La Repubblica has the story.
Europe - Europe's homeless 'more vulnerable under COVID-19 lockdown'
In this extensive piece about the impact of COVID-19 on the homeless population in Europe, CGTN explores the different risks homeless people are faced with, and some measures taken in different cities in Europe to try to protect homeless people from the pandemic and stop the spread of the virus.
Europe – Europe's homeless hit hard by Coronavirus response
Homeless people in major European cities are increasingly going hungry during theCcoronavirus pandemic and suffering in the enforcement of the lockdown, with rough sleepers being issued with police fines for being outside. A shortfall in protective masks, gloves and hand gels for social workers across the continent has forced the closure of the day centres, food banks and soup kitchens on which people rely to keep themselves healthy and fed. Report by The Guardian.
We’re seeking a Migration Policy officer
The Migration Policy Officer will be responsible for FEANTSA activities in the area of migration and work more specifically on the link between free movement, asylum, and undocumented migration and homelessness. We are recruiting under a full-time, permanent contract. Interested candidates should apply before 10th April. Read more here.