[Cover Art by Renata Mihaly, Romania]
Roma Experiences of Homelessness in Europe
FEANTSA dedicates their winter 2020 edition of the Homeless in Europe magazine to the Roma individuals and families who experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness across the EU.
Roma people across the EU experience racialized poverty, including housing deprivation, at a much higher level than the non-Roma. Roma are also at a higher risk of becoming homeless and face more barriers in accessing support mechanisms when living in homelessness. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened such inequalities.
In October 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, a new EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation was adopted. One of the objectives of the European Commission under this framework is to improve housing conditions for Roma people. Member States are now preparing the national strategies for Roma inclusion for the next ten years. However, despite the improved framework, the post 2020 EU Roma strategic framework is regarded by some with scepticism. One area which is driving this scepticism is related to the limited results of the last decade of Roma inclusion. Housing is the area of action with the least registered improvement; inadequate housing, forced evictions, and homelessness among Roma as well as their multiple causes have been poorly addressed. While policies have been created, hate speech and discrimination against Roma have also acquired new levels and dimensions this year. Militarized operations were registered in Roma communities and people were at an even higher risk of homelessness and health threats since forced evictions continued in this period. Moreover, many continued to live in homelessness during the pandemic.
This winter edition of FEANTSA’s Homeless in Europe magazine speaks to these harsh realities and brings forward critical contributions from Roma and pro-Roma organisations, as well as Roma and pro-Roma rights activists and researchers. We aimed to give space to Roma voices in these pages, including Roma academics and activists. In particular, we wanted to interview a young Roma woman who has shared with us her experiences of homelessness in the streets of Europe’s capital, Brussels. Felicia [pseudonym] talks about the lack of opportunities at home in Romania “for us, Roma.” She has not heard much about the support measures that the EU framework should facilitate for Roma in MS like Romania, but her message is clear for the European Institutions: "We need jobs, but jobs that we can work in here [in Belgium], so that we can support our families and to have a roof over our heads when we stay here. We need a place to sleep when we get here!"
1. Interview with a Roma woman living in homelessness in Brussels with Felicia, Conducted by Simona Barbu and Sergio Perez, FEANTSA
2. Interview with DIOGENES outreach worker Daniela Novac conducted by Simona Barbu, FEANTSA
3. Homeless Roma in Sweden: Discrimination and Denial of Housing by Johanna Westeson
5. When patchworks dissolve: perspectives on destitute Roma families’ economic livelihoods by Camilla Ida Ravnbøl
6. Gadje to gadje: we should listen more to Oslo’s destitute Roma EU citizens by Bianca Irina Cristea and Maren Stinessen Bøe
7. A brief insight into the systemic racism Roma face in accessing housing in Romania by Marian Mandache
8. Spain as a slum free country: it is possible by Belén Sánchez-Rubio, Maite Andrés and Carolina Fernández
9. An Uncertain Future for Roma Rough Sleepers in a post-Brexit UK by Rory Meredith and Matt Cary
10. Roma Strategy vs Reality: An Overview of Roma homelessness and housing exclusion in Europe by Amana Ferro and Isabela Mihalache
11. Forced evictions of Roma: “Europe’s silent scandal" by Bernard Rorke
12. Romani people and their right to housing: from rhetoric to reality! by Marius Tudor
Cover Art by Renata Mihaly, realised through a mixed technique: manual illustration, digital illustration and collating
Renata Mihaly is a young Roma artist . A student at the University of Art and Design Cluj-Napoca, Romania in the fashion section, clothing design Renata has participated with her art in international exhibitions and in European projects volunteering her work. Renata also engages in volunteer actions meant to empower Roma youth from Romania through her work at the Young Roma Maramures association Baia Mare, but also in Cluj-Napoca, in the
informal group INTERSECT.
“For me, art is everything, through art I express myself and it helps me render my personal vision related to any theme, subject, context,” signed, A young Roma artist.