European institutions, EU governments and civil society have committed to working together towards combatting homelessness in the EU.
Combatting homelessness – a priority for Social Europe
At the high-level conference in Lisbon co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU on 21 June 2021, the European Commission and the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), national ministers as well as representatives of EU institutions, civil society organisations, social partners and cities signed the Lisbon Declaration on the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness and launched the European Platform On Combatting Homelessness.
The signatories pledged to work together under the umbrella of the Platform and to deliver actions within their respective competences. They agreed on the following objectives:
- no one sleeps rough for lack of accessible, safe and appropriate emergency accommodation
- no one lives in emergency or transitional accommodation longer than is required for successful move-on to a permanent housing solution
- no one is discharged from any institution (e.g. prison, hospital, care facility) without an offer of appropriate housing
- evictions should be prevented whenever possible and no one is evicted without assistance for an appropriate housing solution, when needed
- no one is discriminated due to their homelessness status
The launch of the Platform is the beginning of a process to establish a common understanding and commitment and to ensure concrete progress in Member States in the fight against homelessness. It offers an opportunity to engage and work with local actors, including cities and service providers. This will enable all actors to better exchange their knowledge and practices, and identify efficient and innovative approaches, to make progress on eradicating homelessness.
The Platform is also a concrete deliverable of the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan. It helps to deliver on the renewed commitment of EU institutions, Member States, civil society and social partners taken at the Porto Social Summit in May 2021 to support a strong social Europe and a fair and inclusive recovery from the pandemic.
At the high-level conference organised by the French Presidency of the Council of the EU on 28 February 2022, national ministers, representatives of the EU institutions and bodies, as well as civil society and social partners endorsed the work programme of the Platform. Please find here the work programme.
Policy measures taken in the Member States
When it comes to tackling homelessness, national, regional and local authorities are key players. Local authorities for instance, play a central role in delivering housing support to those in need. Many cities across the EU are committed to implement integrated measures to end homelessness, and some are experimenting with housing models that promote social cohesion through urban planning. The diversity of policy measures taken in the Member States can serve as a source of inspiration and education.