In 2021, European Union member states and other stakeholders committed, in the Lisbon Declaration, to working together to end homelessness by 2030 at the latest. Following the European elections next June, those responsible for the Decision-makers of very diverse political colors will have to continue collaborating to achieve this objective.
Homelessness has become a problem throughout Europe: it is estimated that every night in Europe 895,000 people sleep outdoors or in a shelter, a figure equivalent to the population of Marseille, Amsterdam or Turin. It is a situation that increasingly affects migrants, workers, women and young people, and in some EU member states, a third of those in emergency accommodation are children.
Since 2021, the European Union has stepped up work to combat homelessness. The creation of the European Platform to Combat Homelessness, an initiative that emerged within the framework of the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights, has made it possible to bring together member states, European institutions and civil society entities with the aim of exchange good practices and engage in dialogue around the fight against homelessness.
Thanks to the Platform, the signatories have been able to start building European solutions, such as the creation of a common framework to define homelessness (called ETHOS), the improvement of data collection and the mobilization of European funds to finance policies formulated from the data. Following the exchange of knowledge and experience, some states have developed a national strategy, which combines a "housing first" approach with specific support services (debt management, healthcare, job search, etc.) and almost Half of the member states have promoted national strategies to fight homelessness. But there is still much to do.
There are six years to go until 2030: it is time to move towards a Europe where there is no place for homelessness, where the right to "housing" is not only recognized but is considered the solid foundation of a healthy and sustainable society. prosperous
The fight against homelessness requires ambitious action at local, regional, national and European levels. It is a shared responsibility that must involve all parties: policy makers, European institutions, entities and other interested parties.
We will only be able to eradicate homelessness through concerted strategies that address prevention, housing and reintegration. Likewise, they must incorporate elements from other areas such as health, migration, gender equality, non-discrimination and regional policy, to name just a few.
On the 8th and 9th, the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union organized a conference in Brussels on homelessness to take stock of the progress of the Platform. We call on the EU to make the fight against homelessness a key element of an ambitious social agenda.
This work is more important than ever. We must redouble our efforts to put an end to this unacceptable form of social exclusion in Europe.
Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights
Karine Lalieux, Minister of Pensions and Social Integration of Belgium
Yves Leterme, president of the European Platform to Combat Homelessness