Welcome back to the FEANTSA Flash.
This October has seen Covid cases skyrocket across Europe, putting already vulnerable groups at increased risk once more. The impact of the health crisis on cities is demonstrated by the increased desire, in many cases, to support those in situations of homelessness. Just this month, and for the first time in our history, FEANTSA gained two new members in the form of cities (Madrid and Lyon), and, Villeurbanne became the first French city to sign the Homeless Bill of Rights.
Read on to find out about the hard work our members have been doing in the fight against homelessness and other updates on homelessness from across Europe.
As always, feel free to send us your ideas and updates for the next edition of the Flash by clicking this button.
European and World news
HSP #50Solutions Webinar 3: For a Green Recovery that Leaves No-one Behind
On 12th November, the Housing Solutions Platform will host a webinar with representatives from three of its #50Solutions project to speak about green recovery and affordable housing.
In the light of the new ecological challenges we have been facing for several years, particularly in the context of the Green Deal, housing solutions should be rethought by combining social and ecological challenges. This challenge was taken up by three of HSP’s “50 Solutions” projects from Eastern Europe and Western Balkans, France, and Flanders, notably by providing encouraging solutions against energy poverty.
You can read more about the three projects here, here, and here.
Save the Date! The Sharing Economy: What Impact on Housing?
On 18th November, HSP will host a webinar about the impact of short-term rental platforms on housing prices.
There will be discussion about the strong growth of short-term rental platforms and the negative consequences this can have in the housing and tourism sector. It will also be necessary to examine the existing legislative framework surrounding these platforms and to question its relevance and effectiveness.
The debate will be hosted by Kim van Sparrentak MEP. Keep your eyes on HSP’s website or Twitter feed for the registration link which is to follow.
2 Slices of PIE: Housing First and Psychologically Informed Environments
This Housing First Europe Hub webinar, held 24th November, 11:00 CET – 12:30 CET, will bring together Housing First staff and managers to discuss how they use Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) in their work. This interactive online workshop will highlight some examples of PIE in Housing First, including employed by Focus Ireland and Rock Trust in Scotland, and provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions and share their own experience. Contact Samara Jones or Claire O’Sullivan for more information.
Launch of FEANTSA Ending Homelessness Award
At the start of the month, we launched the third edition of our Ending Homelessness Award. The award aims to celebrate inspiring use of European Structural Funds to tackle homelessness. Any project or programme which has utilised the European Social Fund, The European Regional Development Fund or the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived during the 2014-20 funding period is eligible. Learn more or apply here.
Villeurbanne endorses Homeless Bill of Rights
On Friday October 16th, Villeurbanne became the first French commune to endorse the Homeless Bill of Rights. The Homeless Bill of Rights is a compilation of basic rights drawn from European and international human rights instruments specific to the situation of those experiencing homelessness. The endorsement of this Bill is a positive first step towards the recognition and protection of the fundamental rights of homeless individuals. Read more here.
FEANTSA Online Conference Week 5-9 October 2020
With FEANTSA’s annual conference postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus, we held an online conference week to ensure that our network and all those working on homelessness could still come together to exchange knowledge and discuss research, policies and solutions. The speaker presentations from each webinar can now be found here on our website (recordings coming soon).
PRODEC Study: Intra-European Migrants and Homelessness in Brussels
FEANTSA have teamed up with Bruss’help and Diogenes to organise a ‘study day’ to discuss the PRODEC study (Protecting the Rights of Destitute EU Mobile Citizens) and explore the link between intra-European migration and homelessness in Brussels. Learn more and sign up here.
FEANTSA & True Colors launch report on LGBTIQ youth homelessness & homelessness services
In 2019, FEANTSA & True Colors United launched a survey of FEANTSA members to understand the challenges homeless services encounter when working with LGBTIQ youth. The resulting report, launched this month, represents a first step in a research project that will establish a baseline of understanding about LGBTIQ youth homelessness across the region and inform the development of resources and training for homeless service providers. Download the report here.
FEANTSA Statement: EU Roma Strategic Framework
We have published our statement in response to the launch of the EU’s Roma Strategy for 2020-30. FEANTSA welcomes the strategy, and we are looking forward in particular to seeing to improvements in the areas of housing deprivation and exclusion. Access the full statement here.
Homeless in Europe Magazine Autumn 2020 Edition
The Autumn edition of FEANTSA’s magazine, titled ‘The Impact of Covid-19 on Homeless People and Services’ is now available.
From the experience of homeless migrants in Denmark to the UK’s ‘Everyone In’ scheme, this edition of the magazine features contributions based on a wide range of topics relating to Covid-19 and homelessness. As we enter the second wave of Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions, this edition provides important lessons from the Spring wave which can help us to protect people experiencing homelessness.
Save the Date: Polish National Federation for Solving the Problem of Homelessness Conference "Overcoming Homelessness"
Running 1st-4th December, the online conference (with English translation) will give an overview of homelessness in Poland and discuss ways of combatting it, including through the Federation’s deinstitutionalisation programme, pilot housing first projects and medical/psychiatric outreach schemes. Registration opens 2nd November.
As governments across Europe implement curfews, our members respond
With the second wave of coronavirus striking Europe, several governments have implemented curfews. In response, several of our members have called for attention to the fact that these measures often fail to consider the situations of those experiencing homelessness and their inability to comply with curfews. Kralji Ulice in Slovenia, Arrels Fundacio in Catalonia, Samusocial in Paris and fio.PSD in Italy have all published statements.
Home for All alliance report sparks debate in Denmark
The report commissioned by Home for All alliance and published by Kraka shows how Denmark could abolish long-term homelessness by 2030 and save DKK 2 billion by employing a focused national strategy, based on the principles of Housing First. Read more.
‘Hidden issue’ of temporary workers at risk of homelessness revealed by St Mungo
The report, entitled “Tackling Transient Work and Homelessness”, examines the link between temporary employment and homelessness. The report makes seven policy recommendations, including an increase in Local Housing Allowance and for the increase in Universal Credit to be made permanent. Read the full report here.
Greek Housing Network Organise Press Conference for World Homeless Day
The press conference centred around the topic of housing rights. Viktoras Tsiafoutis from EKPOIZO (Consumer’s Association) revealed that the percentage of over-indebted households has risen to 90%. The Secretary General of Social Solidarity and the Fight against Poverty, George Stamatis, announced that a committee will be created to record the number of homeless people in the country every two years. Read more here.
Hogar Si: Homelessness and Sustainable Development
In response to UN Habitat’s Urban October Campaign and in response to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, Hogar Si have launched a guide that explains the relationship between the 2030 Agenda and homelessness, and suggests solutions to the issue of homelessness which are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Read more here.
Focus Ireland reports on the Impact of Covid-19 on Homeless Figures
The report which analyses the impact of Covid-19 on homeless figures found that preventative measures introduced in response to the pandemic (in particular the eviction ban) helped to stem the flow of people entering homelessness. Read the full report here.
Fapil publishes two booklets analysing poor housing and housing insecurity
The first is an introductory booklet outlining the context of poor housing and the actions and initiatives of Fapil and its members in the field. The second focuses on the situation of young people and the difficulties they face in finding housing, including financial insecurity and mistrust on the part of landlords. Read the booklets here.
Naccom launches #StopAsylumEvictions campaign
On 15th September, the Home Office resumed evictions from asylum accommodation for people with a negative decision in England, with plans to resume in Scotland and Wales in the future. As a response, Naccom have launched their #StopAsylumEvictions campaign, which calls on the Home Office to halt these plans, end No Recourse to Public Funda conditions, and provide emergency accommodation to those without a place to stay, regardless of immigration status. Find more info including templates for letters to send to MPs here.
Dublin Simon: Homelessness and Mental Health
On 10th of October, both World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day, Dublin Simon Community published a statement on the link between homelessness and mental health issues. A staggering 53% of Dublin Simon’s emergency accommodation residents require mental health supports. Read the full statement here.
Homeless Link UK Report: We Have a Voice, Follow our Lead
Homeless Link UK published a report on youth homelessness called We Have a Voice, Follow our Lead. The report outlines the barriers that young people encounter in accessing housing and calls for urgent action to reform the system and policies that are failing them. Access the report here.
La Cloche Give a Voice to Homeless People
In the next instalment of their webinar series ‘Les personnes sans domicile prennent la parole’ (Homeless people take the floor) on 17th of November, La Cloche will be platforming and discussing the testimonies of people who have experienced homelessness. Read the programme and sign up here.
Valente Call on House of Representatives to Address Homelessness in Upcoming Budget
During the week of 2nd of November, the Dutch House of Representatives will discuss the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Support’s budget. Valente has called on the House to address the issues of street homelessness, domestic violence and to put in place mechanisms to assist people out of shelters and into housing. Read the statement here.
European (and world) news
Commission publish report on the quality of life in European cities
Around 40% of the EU population live in cities. However, only around 38% of city residents on average are positive about being able to find affordable housing in their city. In 1/4 cities, over 50% residents felt positive about housing. In 1/5, this figure was less than 20%. The full report can be found here.
New figures on Housing Deprivation and Homelessness
Eurostat has published new figures relating to housing deprivation and homelessness during 2018, that reveal 4% of the European population examined have been homeless. Read the full report here.
The Commission launches its Renovation Wave Strategy
Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU's energy consumption, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy. This is why the Commission has launched its Renovation Wave Strategy, with the goal to renovate 35 million buildings by 2030. The mention of the reduction of energy poverty is a positive sign, however more ambition on the part of the Commission is necessary to ensure low-income households are a priority in the Renovation Wave.
France – Île-de-France: over 50% of vulnerable people infected with Covid-19
A study conducted by Medicins sans Frontières found that there was a 55% infection rate among especially vulnerable groups in accommodation centres, soup kitchens, and workers’ hostels in which they conducted the tests. Le Figaro reports.
UK – Lives will be lost among homeless people this winter without urgent action, doctors warn
Seventeen of Britain's leading medical bodies and homeless organisations (including our members Crisis and St. Mungo’s) have called on the government to take urgent action to protect rough sleepers from the looming threat of both Covid-19 and the coming winter months. The coalition warns that unless rough sleepers are provided with accommodation where they can sufficiently self-isolate, the government will be facing a “humanitarian disaster”. More in The Independent.
France – No need to toughen the law on squats, we must fight against poor housing
Amid a health crisis which has shown housing to be a key determinant of health, new “anti-squat” provisions could lead to even more injustice for homeless people. Libération reports.
Portugal – Portuguese Government to finance Housing First
In its preliminary State Budget, the Portuguese government asserts its commitment to tackling poverty and social exclusion by outlining plans to finance Housing First and shared apartments for those experiencing homelessness or housing exclusion. Diario de Noticias reports.
Ireland – Eviction Ban to be Put in Place Following Restrictions
Following the Irish government’s announcement that the country will go into lockdown, a Bill was passed which ensures that tenants will not be evicted during the six weeks that these new measures will last. The Journal reports.
Netherlands – Young People Face Challenges in the Rental Market in Amsterdam
Research has shown that over half of young people in Amsterdam have a temporary lease, which leaves them in a weak position as they are at the mercy of their landlord and unlikely to complain about high rent or maintenance issues in case their contract is not renewed. Temporary contracts also allow for rent hikes every time a contract comes to an end. Het Parool reports.
UK – People Will Die Because Of Home Office Plan To Deport Rough Sleepers, Outreach Teams Warn
Home Office intends to bring in a new policy which allows for immigrants to have permission to stay in the UK refused or revoked if they are sleeping rough. The Home Office has said that this highly controversial policy would be used “sparingly” but outreach workers denounce the new rules that "criminalise" those on the street, and raise fears for LGBTQ+ homeless people. Huff Post UK reports.
Latvia – Latvia’s shelters adapt to control the spread of Covid-19
As the second wave of covid-19 is upon us, shelters in Latvia are changing how they operate in order to minimise the spread of the virus. This includes increased testing, around the clock open hours and the creation of isolation spaces. Two new shelters have also been opened in Riga in order to allow for social distancing. Skaties reports.
Calling Social Services: *Call for projects* for Made In Social Europe exhibition
Social Platform is currently looking for projects for our Made in Social Europe Exhibition. The Exhibition will provide an online and interactive way for us to have a glimpse of our networks' invaluable projects and to educate others, alongside witnessing first-hand the impact that social projects are having across the European Union.
Exhibition: Femmes runs 16th October – 28th February
On the International Day for the Fight against Poverty (17th October), Samusocial Brussels unveiled their exhibition "Femmes", a series of 15 portraits of women who have agreed to testify about their history of homelessness, at the Parlamentarium. Find out more on the dedicated exhibition webpage.