European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless: EU Urban Agenda marks real opportunity to end homelessness in our cities

The EU Urban Agenda has opened the Urban Poverty Partnership’s Action Plan for public consultation. The partnership has prioritised homelessness among four policy areas. The European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) has welcomed the inclusion of three specific actions which can empower cities and service providers, with the support of national and European policy makers, to end homelessness in our cities.

The Urban Poverty Partnership was established under the Pact of Amsterdam in 2016. For the past seven months, FEANTSA has coordinated the partnership’s Working Group on Homelessness, working with cities and ministries to draft actions to combat homelessness. The partnership is calling for i) full recognition and re-affirmation of sustainable development goal 1: to eradicate poverty in all its forms by 2030; ii) capacity building for more effective use of EU funds in investing in housing-led solutions and iii) enhanced data collection and monitoring of homelessness.

Freek Spinnewijn, Director of FEANTSA: “The Urban Poverty Partnership has put three concrete actions targeting homelessness to public consultation. These actions, if implemented properly, can have a lasting impact on the landscape of our cities and put an end to homelessness. FEANTSA and our 130+ members are ready and willing to support the Urban Agenda in the implementation of these actions.”

FEANTSA has also published a roadmap for the EU Urban Agenda, which sets out the actions the European Commission, Member States, cities and non-governmental organisations should endorse to combat homelessness in European cities. This forms part of a series of roadmaps that FEANTSA has created for its campaign: Be Fair, Europe – Stand Up for Homeless People, which outline concrete steps that can be taken in different areas by the EU policy-makers, in line with national governments, regions, cities and stakeholders to put an end to homelessness.

Homelessness is growing across the EU, and has reached crisis point in many EU cities. In Paris, nearly 13,000 people were denied emergency shelter due to over-capacity in 2015, and in Dublin, over 1,000 families are currently homeless. In Athens, 71% of the 9,000 rough sleepers have become homeless in the past five years.

Another of the Urban Agenda’s partnerships, on housing, is expected to open for public consultation towards the end of July, which provides another opportunity to ensure adequate and affordable housing for some of our most vulnerable citizens.

FEANTSA strongly endorses the Urban Poverty Partnership’s actions on homelessness and invites all relevant stakeholders to respond positively to the consultation process, and comment on the homeless actions.

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