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Bringing an EU homelessness strategy back on track

Housing led approaches can pave the way

Brussels, 16 January 2014 | Published in Social

In a “better late than never” approach the European Institutions resume action to deal with the alarming problem of homelessness in the continent. MEPs have adopted in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg a resolution on an EU homelessness strategy, following up thus the respective resolution of September 2011. While the time to the European elections is counting down, it’s made clear that there is no space for further delay by the Commission.

CECODHAS Housing Europe welcomes this clear statement on behalf of the MEPs and is ready to support the fight against homelessness at EU level with concrete measures that promote housing led approaches. As the Secretary General of the organization, Claire Roumet puts it

there is now plenty of evidence that housing led approaches are the most cost effective response to the growing number of homeless across Europe. Alongside with the roof, the sector is capable of stimulating employment and of contributing to the prevention of social exclusion”.

The current European Parliament report was initiated by a group of Green MEPs, including Karima Delli, the rapporteur of the report on “Social Housing in the EU” that was adopted in June 2013 and urges among other measures the Member States to “develop social and affordable housing adapted for the most vulnerable individuals in order to prevent social exclusion and homelessness”.

CECODHAS Housing Europe also shares the views expressed in the report regarding the “reform of the banking sector in such a way that it meets the needs of society by banning home foreclosures for unpaid mortgages”. Protection of mortgage consumers and the reform of the banking sector are indeed two of the points highlighted in a letter sent to the European Commissionersresponsible for the housing market as well as the financial and social stability in Europe.

Other proposals of the report include the immediate termination to the criminalization of homelessness and even the introduction of an EU guarantee scheme similar to the Youth Guarantee one, so that the fundamental right to housing can be fulfilled for everyone.

Just four months before the elections, the European project cannot take any further inertia and has to face its social priorities as such. This is why CECODHAS Housing Europe with its 43 affordable housing providers across the EU will keep trying to give housing its place among the priorities of the European agenda.