JUNE 2020

Welcome back to the FEANTSA Flash! 

After several months of hiatus, we are slowly seeing things go back to normal. But is going back to normal really something we should strive for? We started saying it with our #hotelstohomes campaign last month: the resilience shown during the crisis period should serve as a springboard to more long-term action. With the Netherlands and Wales leading the way (see below), and with European Commissioner Schmit promising homelessness will be a social priority for the EU, we hope to see some real change for the better. With this in mind, we invite you to read our June highlights.  

As always, feel free to get in touch with us if you have a story you’d like to see in the next edition of the Flash.  


Webinar on Covid19 and Homelessness 

FEANTSA, the European Observatory on Homelessness and the University of Bergamo invite you to an open webinar on Covid-19 and homelessness, which will take place on Friday September 25th, 2020 at 4.00 PM CET. To participate, please send an email to information@feantsa.org with the reference to the webinar on Covid-19 and homelessness. For more information, please head over to the dedicated webpage.  

5th Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe  

FEANTSA and Fondation Abbé Pierre are proud to announce the launch of their 5th Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe. The presentation will take place on 23rd July from 9.30 AM – 11.00 AM CET online. The link will be announced a few days prior to the event on our social media channels and our website. 


New Administrative Council and Executive Committee for 2020-2022 

Congratulations to FEANTSA's new Administrative Council and Executive Committee. We look forward to their steering as we work to end homelessness in Europe. We would also like to thank the retiring representatives for their dedicated work during the 2018-2020 term, and trust they will continue to share their expertise to the benefit of all. You can find the full list of the new AC and EC members here.  

Joint Call: Demanding Stronger EU Support for Social Services 

On 25 June, FEANTSA took part in an online social summit event, along with 11 other social partners, to call for more recognition, urgency, and resilience for social care and support services in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recovery. Following the event a joint position paper was released which explains these calls in more detail.

50 Solutions Webinar #2: Alternative Forms of Land and Property Ownership  

In the second webinar of their 50 Solutions series, HSP took a closer look at initiatives that are encouraging new ways of thinking about land and property ownership and paving the way for more affordable housing in their communities. Based on three 50 Solutions projects from London, Brussels, and Catalonia, the webinar examined alternative forms of ownership across three dimensions: space, time, and land-building separation.  Watch it here

Is the Just Transition Fund Enough? A Housing Perspective on Leaving No One Behind  

FEANTSA held a discussion on the European Commission’s plans for a just transition. The debate discussed opportunities to improve energy efficiency in discussion was hosted and introduced by Mounir Satouri MEP (Greens/EFA), with interventions from experts and European Commission representatives. You can watch it on replay here. 

FEANTSA Publications

Migration Cluster Study Visit Report 

In March this year, FEANTSA’s working group on migration went on a study visit to Greece to better understand reception and housing conditions for asylum seekers residing in Greece. Read about the trip and what the working group learnt in this report. 

Report: Factors Contributing to Vulnerability Among Destitute Mobile EU Citizens in Brussels 

One of the main problems that FEANTSA has observed in recent years is the lack of comprehensive and comparable data on destitute mobile EU citizens. More specific data about the target group would help form a better understanding of what the biggest challenges are and inform policy more efficiently with specific information. As part of the first phase of the PRODEC (Protecting the Rights of Destitute mobile EU Citizens) project, the project partners decided to carry out a pilot data collection exercise in Brussels, building on the work of Diogènes, an outreach service. This report presents our findings. 

Homeless in Europe magazine - Spring 2020: The Criminalisation of Homelessness 

Whether in Europe or in the United States, there is overwhelming evidence that people who are homeless are being criminalised for the activities they are forced to carry out in public space. That is why the new issue of the FEANTSA magazine focuses on repressive and coercive approaches towards people who are homeless and their survival practices. You can read it in the new look here (double-tap on a page if reading on your smartphone). 

Housing Rights Watch Handbook: Strategic Litigation and Advocacy on Housing Rights in Europe 

Housing Rights Watch is pleased to announce the launch of their new handbook: Instruments for Strategic Litigation and Advocacy on Housing Rights in Europe. If you are a housing professional with a non-legal background who is curious about how the right to housing works in practice, what remedies exist in cases of a suspected violation of this right, and what legal options exist for NGOs to remedy a breach of this right, then this handbook is for you! It is available in English and French. 

Email maria.jose.aldanas@feantsa.org for more information. 

Member News

Greece – Solidarity Now publish joint statement on refugee evictions 

In response to the planned eviction of thousands of recognised refugees in Greece, our member Solidarity Now published a joint letter to EU and Greek officials with over 60 signatories. Read the letter here and follow Solidarity Now as the situation develops. 

Spain – HogarSi Maps Resources in Spain  

The health crisis has caused more than 7,000 accommodation places to be enabled for people who lived on the street when the state of alarm began. They have created this map where you can see how and where these resources have increased. 
UK – Llamau Supported Living Update 

Llamau releases 6th month update on Wales’ first LGBTQ+ specific supporting living project for young people. Find it here.

France – UNCLLAJ turns 30  
UNCLLAJ are 30 years old! The Local Committees for Autonomous Youth Housing are associations present throughout France, to support young people in their housing project. Find out more. 

European News

Commitment to End Homelessness: EU Leaders Joint Op-ed 

"Though complex, homelessness is not insurmountable and can be overcome" write Portuguese Minister of Work & Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho, EMPL Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and Goodwill Ambassador Yves Leterme in their op-ed, published this month. The three promise to make the fight against homelessness a social policy priority for the EU and the 2021 Portuguese EU Presidency. 

Amnesty international condemns fining of homeless people for not confining 

Their report, which considers human rights violations in the enforcement of Covid-19 measures in Europe, calls on European states to Review the penalties imposed for non-compliance with the lockdown measures for those who were not able to comply with the measures because of their socio-economic status, including people who are homeless. 

The Fundamental Rights Agency publishes 2020 report on fundamental rights  

EU Fundamental Rights Agency publishes their 2020 report which includes a focus on homelessness as relating to Roma people and asylum seekers. 

Eurostat released report on EU’s progress on the sustainable development goals 

The report, available here, finds "good but slow progress" on tackling poverty. This reflection is difficult to square with the dramatic increase in homelessness that we have seen in the last five years.  

Dutch Government launches new homeless strategy 

This month the Dutch government launched new ambitious homelessness strategy. By December 2021 cities must have policies in place to scale Housing First with more than 10,000 dwellings, prevent homelessness after institutional discharge, prevent evictions and invest in small-scale, high-quality shelter. 


Italy – Poverty, what happened to the homeless during the pandemic? 

Il Sole 24 ore’s excellent infodata section looks into the situation of homeless people in Milan. “During the pandemic, the media suddenly remembered homeless people. We realized that #iorestoacasa (#StayHome) does not work for everyone.” Read more here. 

Hungary – Activists protest against government's failure to admit homeless people to City Hall  

The City for All group organised a demonstration in Budapest in front of Government buildings. The protest took place after organisations had been denied their request to open buildings for homeless people for emergency accommodation. Read more.

Czech Republic – homeless will remain in Prague hotels until next spring 

The hotels that had been mobilised during the peak of the Coronavirus crisis as an emergency measure will continue to host people experiencing homelessness until March 2021 as a temporary solution whilst social services support them transition over to more permanent housing, Novinky reports. 

United Kingdom – Why some homeless people prefer sleeping rough to hostels or hotels 

In this piece, The Conversation looks into the emergency accommodation of homeless people in hostels and hotels and why some avoid going there. The piece also marks an essential point on the need for long-term strategies.  

Greece – 'We want to stay': refugees struggle to integrate in Greece after camp life 

Asylum seekers discharged from island holding centres are given little support to find accommodation and work. “No civilised state can be proud of this,” says FEANTSA AC member Lazaros Petromilidis. “And this is just the beginning. Soon we could be seeing these shameful scenes in every square up and down the country.” “The time has clearly come to focus on integration,” he says. Read more in The Guardian here. 

USA – Seattle Times panel on racism and homelessness 

“To be blunt, there is no homelessness in America without racism. It simply wouldn’t exist.” says Marc Dones, the executive director of National Innovation Service, a public systems consultancy that focuses on racial equity in the Seattle Times panel on racism and homelessness. You can go through some highlights of the discussion here.  

Wales – Coronavirus and homelessness: 'No one will have to go back' 

Wales' housing minister says she is "absolutely determined" homeless people will not have to go back on to the streets after the coronavirus pandemic, BBC reports.