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Trends & statistics

At national level, data collection on homelessness is developing rapidly in most EU countries, allowing for better homeless policies, monitoring and measurement.

FEANTSA seeks to improve the available data on homelessness, maintaining that the nature and extent of homelessness must be known if governments are to make progress towards ending it.

FEANTSA has developed a European Typology of Homelessness and housing exclusion (ETHOS) as a means of improving understanding and measurement of homelessness in Europe, and to provide a common "language" for transnational exchanges on homelessness.

Each year, FEANTSA members compile data on homelessness and homeless policies in each of the EU member states. You can view them here.

FEANTSA also produces an annual Overview of Housing Exclusion and Homelessness in Europe, in partnership with the Foundation Abbé Pierre, based upon the latest statistics on homelessness from across Europe.

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Ruth Owen.


Employment

Access to the labour market plays a fundamental role for the social integration and personal fulfilment of an individual. The lack or loss of employment is often a trigger factor that leads to homelessness. For people experiencing homelessness, reintegration into employment is crucial in order to move out of poverty and social exclusion. It helps in establishing a social network, gaining experience, improving skills, developing self-esteem and moving towards financial independence. Priorities for the area of employment focus on the social economy as a means to promote skills development, job opportunities and community integration for people experiencing homelessness.

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Robbie Stakelum.


Women’s homelessness

Research shows that the causes and consequences of homelessness and housing exclusion can vary considerably when analysed from a gender perspective. For example violence against women is a significant cause of women becoming homeless and while homeless many women are the victims of gender based violence. Women frequently engage with homeless services in a very different manner from their male counterparts. Therefore it’s important that policy makers take account of the gender specific needs of homeless women.

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Dalma Fabian.

Health

Unsurprisingly being homeless has a significant impact on your health. People who are homeless face enormous barriers and obstacles to accessing healthcare which results in an average age of death of 43 for women and 47 for men. The major factors impacting on the health of a homeless people are i) poor physical health, ii) poor mental health and iii) substance misuse. These tri-morbidity factors arise from the poor quality of life from living on the street or in shelters and the mental strain and anxiety resulting from rough sleeping.

The Health and Homelessness Newsletter

FEANTSA’s regularly shares health and homelessness-related news and resources (inc reports, articles, toolkits etc), which you can access here. If you would like to contribute or subscribe to this newsletter, please contact Dalma Fabian.

Working Group

FEANTSA coordinates a Working Group on Health comprising experts from FEANTSA’s membership working on health and homelessness.

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Dalma Fabian.

Housing

Lack of affordable, accessible and secure housing of adequate quality is a defining feature of homelessness. In order to tackle homelessness, it is therefore necessary to understand the central role of housing as a pathway into and out of homelessness. The right to housing is one of the most basic human rights ensuring human dignity. Access to housing is also a precondition for the exercise of many other fundamental rights. Combating and progressively eliminating homelessness therefore involves the realisation of housing rights.

FEANTSA works on a range of housing issues, including the role of housing markets in generating and combating homelessness, housing rights, the housing needs of homeless people, the role of neighbouring sectors such as social housing, and the overall role of housing as part of solutions to homelessness.

Working Group

FEANTSA coordinates a Working Group on Housing comprising experts from FEANTSA’s membership working specifically on housing and homelessness. 

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Ruth Owen.

Migration

Immigrants are highly represented amongst the homeless population across the EU, some cities receiving more immigrants than nationals in their homelessness services. Both third country nationals, including refugees and asylum seekers, and mobile EU citizens exercising their right to free movement are pushed into situations of destitution and homelessness in many metropolitan centres as a result of continuous restrictive migration rules combined with discrimination and administrative barriers. The main factors linking migration to homelessness are related to legal status, which translates into the right to social or public sector housing, social protection, work and access to homelessness services (which in a number of Member States is denied to non-nationals or undocumented migrants); discrimination, affecting a person’s chances of entering the housing and labour market; and institutional factors, hindering the processes of new admissions of migrant workers and non-renewal of work permits.

FEANTSA underlines that migration policies should target housing exclusion and that further weight must be given to the conversation around access to emergency accommodation that is not conditional upon immigration status. Access to adequate and safe housing should always be ensured for migrants within the EU, regardless of the immigration status.

Several FEANTSA members with extensive experience in supporting homeless immigrants work on this area within our cluster focusing on migration and homelessness. The aim of the migration cluster is to raise awareness on the factors that lead to homelessness among immigrants across the EU and to advocate for the inclusion of immigrants in housing policies.

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Simona Barbu.

Participation

At FEANTSA we recognise the importance of individuals’ participation in designing and implementing the services that aim to support them in their everyday life. We strive to apply the "Nothing About Us Without Us!" principle in our work on improving policies related to homelessness as well as in the development of services through our members’ efforts.

For this purpose, our participation cluster works to develop materials and to facilitate knowledge exchange on the meaning and importance of participation, as well as types of participative approaches and available participation tools. The cluster has organised over the years seminars and working visits in different European cities: exchanges of best practices, peer support training and activities to create empowerment environments, all with the participation of individuals with experiences of homelessness and organisations working for and with homeless people.

FEANTSA highlights that participation is about empowering people and breaking the cycle of exclusion, which can be achieved through specific steps:

Our participatory approach aims at including peoples’ experiences as unique insights into the services we run and the policies we work on. Only in this way we can improve the quality and effectiveness of services and policies that aim at ending homelessness. Only through the participation of excluded and homeless people will decision making and policy developments be truly democratic processes, which respect to human rights and empower marginalised people. To this aim, we also aim to raise awareness on participation issues related to the right to voting (and to running as a candidate) for homeless people and the digital inclusion of homeless people and of the service providers that support those living in homelessness or on the economical inclusion (f.ex.: access to bank accounts and bank cards, issues related to cashless-ness, etc).

For more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Simona Barbu.

Youth

FEANTSA’s work on youth homelessness focuses on developing youth orientation solutions that meet the specific needs of young people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness in their transition to adulthood and independent living. Current youth priorities include promoting the European Framework for Defining Youth Homelessness, promoting youth specific practices and building an awareness for intersectional approaches to combatting youth homelessness.

Our work on Youth Homelessness has been supported by the Council of Europe’s Youth Department, who has provided the resources to a host a series of 5 Day intensive study sessions on topics related to youth homelessness with frontline social workers, researchers, policy makers and people experiencing homelessness.

To receive more information about the work of FEANTSA in this area, please contact Robbie Stakelum.