Homelessness and housing exclusion are on the increase in Europe. Millions of citizens are being left behind by inadequate policy responses, with knock-on effects on social cohesion and economic growth. The tools required to deal with these challenges already exist and the EU has a crucial role to play in finding solutions.

In 2010, the EU committed to lifting 20 million people out of poverty by 2020. By 2014, homelessness was rapidly increasing across the continent. Following the European Parliamentary elections, FEANTSA called on the new Chairs of the European Parliamentary Groups, who had voted in favour of a Resolution on EU Homelessness Strategy in 2011, to use their new positions to follow-up on their calls and to act as catalysts in putting a strategic approach to end homelessness in place.

The current mandate has seen a wide range of positive action by the European Parliament in tackling homelessness.

Key Developments

Women’s homelessness

In 2017, the EU began accession to the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and in September 2017, the European Parliament endorsed this by a large majority. 2017 is the European Year of focus on violence against women. This has helped put women’s homelessness, which is often related to violence, in the spotlight in a range of EP resolutions.

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European Pillar of Social Rights

In January 2017, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Commission aims for the Pillar to provide a new framework for social policy coordination in the EU.

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Homelessness strategy

In December 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Situation of Fundamental Rights in the European Union in 2015 which “deplored” the failure of the European Commission to follow-up on EP resolutions in 2011 and 2014 asking for an EU homelessness strategy.

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Towards 2019

Such activities signal an intent by the European Parliament to tackle homelessness. However, it is now vital that as the EU draws up its post-2020 agenda, the fight against homelessness is at the heart of the ambition for a social “triple A” with “no one left behind”. Therefore, ahead of the 2019 European Parliamentary elections, FEANTSA calls on MEPs to support our campaign “Be Fair Europe: Stand Up for Homeless People”. This means working with the other EU institutions, national governments, regions, cities and stakeholders to put an end to homelessness by:

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Standout MEPS

Marian Harkin
Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

In March 2017, Marian Harkin hosted an event in the European Parliament to launch FEANTSA’s Campaign: ‘Be Fair, Europe: Stand Up for Homeless People’ which aims to keep homelessness on the EU’s agenda as it looks ahead to 2030. Marian has been a long-time supporter of the fight against homelessness and is a strong advocate of the issue back in her native Ireland.