Minimum income schemes were in the spotlight at Social Platform's annual conference - the organisation advocating for a large array of social rights of which we are a member. Participants stressed that even if not recognised, poverty is a crisis and EU legally binding instruments should be created. Minimum income schemes represent just one of the ways that could end this crisis. This brings up the question how can one access income when they are prevented from accessing affordable housing?
In Bulgaria for instance the general opinion is that receiving benefits is a gift and not a right, reinforcing the stigma. At the same time, many vulnerable people have been excluded from the system if they do not have formal housing.
The second part of the event took place at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Estrella Dura Ferrandis, who showed support for a directive on the matter. ‘Poverty is not insurmountable, but rather a political choice, of leaving people behind," MEP Sara Matthieu said, adding that making sure that the civil society comes together and is an ally is important. "Minimum income is a needed tool, and its implementation should not be prevented by austerity policies," was the position of the European Trade Union Confederation. In the end, Milagros Paniagua, from the Ministry of Migration, Inclusion and Social Security from Spain concluded by underlining that housing is crucial to combat poverty.