Homelessness is perhaps the most acute expression of poverty and the European Parliament has called for an end to `street homelessness' in the EU by 2015.
Host Country : Austria
Place and date : Vienna, 12. - 13.11.2009
Peer countries : Denmark - Germany - Hungary - Italy - Luxembourg - Norway - Slovenia - Sweden
Stakeholders : Eurocities, FEANTSA
However, there is a lack of knowledge about the causes of homelessness and the actual numbers of people sleeping rough, and this prevents policymakers from developing efficient strategies to overcome the problem.
In the City of Vienna, where reintegrating the homeless through housing programmes has been a priority for the past 20 years, the need to gather empirical data on homelessness has been singled out as a cornerstone for introducing efficient, needs-oriented measures to assist those affected.
The availability of both quantitative and qualitative data on homelessness would enable the City to adapt and improve local social planning in line with needs and, ultimately, to better integrate the homeless into the regular housing market.
The difficulty in gathering data on homelessness is largely due to the fact that, up until now, the phenomenon has rarely been fully researched and definitions of the term vary widely across the EU. In this regard alone, the exchange of experience among Member States could prove useful in developing a common methodology.
Ms Renate Haupfleisch (ÖSB Consulting GmbH)