People Experiencing Homelessness Ask EU Leaders to Listen and Talk to Them:
A Collection of Testimonials from People with Experience of Homelessness in the context of the Conference on the Future of Europe
The best way to understand someone’s problems is by listening to them. In this case, people with experience of homelessness speak directly to European leaders about the problems they face and how the institutions could improve their situation. Listening to these people is paramount to developing adequate policies and measures at EU level that ensure access to housing for all and contribute to ending homelessness.
FEANTSA works to make sure that the voices of individuals who live in marginalisation and in homelessness reach the attention of European leaders and institutions. To this aim and with support from our members, we collected testimonials from people with experience of homelessness in several countries across the EU. We asked people what challenges they face in their everyday life, what are their expectations from the EU and how do they think European leaders should engage and support people living in homelessness.
This collection of testimonials aims to contribute to the consultations conducted under the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE), a process which FEANTSA has been involved in throughout 2021. The Conference on the Future of Europe is presented as a unique and timely opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities. The European Union wants to hear from citizens across all member states on topics of importance to them. The European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission have committed to listen to European citizens and to follow up, within their sphere of competences, on the recommendations received. By spring 2022, the Conference is expected to reach conclusions and provide guidance on the future of Europe.
Across 2021, civil society organisations have come together to raise awareness on the need of including the voices of marginalised individuals in the consultation processes of CoFoE To this end, FEANTSA has joined a campaign for an inclusive Conference on the Future of Europe and supported, among other initiatives, calls to conduct a diversity assessment of the composition of the Citizens’ Panel and to ensure the representation of marginalised communities in the Conference Plenary.
According to the latest progress report of the CoFoE Multilingual Digital Platform, from its launch in April and up to the beginning of November 2021, a total of 29,012 contributions were made (9,337 ideas, 16,017 comments, and 3,658 events) as part of the consultation processes. All EU countries have been active in the platform (though with significant differences: Germany made 5,289 contributions and France made 2,914 contributions, while Cyprus had 59 entries and Estonia only 41). Demographic characteristics of participants seem to confirm the need to include more marginalised voices and to diversify the profiles of contributors. The progress report shows that manual workers (6.9%), self-employed (9.1%) and unemployed people (2.6%) have been relatively less active on the platform. While more than a quarter (27.8 %) did not provide information on their gender and 0.4% identified as non-binary, only 15% of contributors declared that they were women. These figures, even if not conclusive, do point to the need for more diversity and actions to ensure inclusion.
FEANTSA continues to raise awareness on the importance of including the voices of marginalised people in the CoFoE as well as in any other European consultation action, and we wish to contribute to this purpose by presenting several perspectives from people with experiences of homelessness.