Sustainable & safe housing for people fleeing the war in Ukraine – the Safe Homes Initiative's role
In light of the European Commission´s launch of the Safe Homes Guidance, the Housing Solutions Platform organized an online debate to get a better understanding of the initiative and how it actually responds to the housing needs of the refugees fleeing Ukraine. Experts from both European and grassroot levels together with representatives of the European Commission and the European Parliament reflected on opportunities and risks linked to the provision of private accommodation and discussed what further EU-level support is possible and needed for long term housing solutions, beyond private accommodation. Find more information about the debate below and the recording of the event here:
Sustainable and safe housing for people fleeing the war in Ukraine – what can the Safe Homes Initiative offer?
September 20th, 2022
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has so far led to an estimated 12 million people fleeing the war, of which over 5 million looked for protection in Europe - the largest displacement of people in Europe since World War II. All around Europe, private individuals, grassroots efforts, and solidarity movements have taken over state’s role in housing provision for Ukrainian refugees, particularly in the neighbouring countries. Member States have reported that the figures of displaced people accommodated by private hosts are between 20 per cent and up to 90 per cent, in some countries. The European Commission is calling it a “tectonic shift” and “an unprecedented show of solidarity, marking a new reality for EU reception and crisis management systems.”
The Commission has rolled out various plans and actions to support Member States in meeting the needs of the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war, including guidelines on access to housing and a new Safe Homes Initiative. As part of the Safe Homes Initiative, on the 6th of July a Guidance on Safe Homes was launched, with the goal to support the efforts of Member States, regional and local authorities and civil society in organising private housing initiatives for those in need of protection.
Remarkable citizens-led and other local initiatives have been paving the way to addressing the current crisis and have shown unprecedented involvement and solidarity in receiving Ukrainian refugees. They created new types of partnerships and developed innovative tools such as matching and vetting platforms for Europeans who want to make their homes available for Ukrainian refugees. These initiatives have become part of the European response to the high numbers of people searching protection in Europe and they need to be recognised as such.
Nevertheless, as the conflict in Ukraine is ongoing and people continue to search for shelter in MS, signs of fatigue and frustration appear in this type of approaches, as they lack sustainability. Given the limitations of the private hosting, it is high time to reflect on how the lessons learnt can help define sustainable solutions for future reception and housing needs. This event aimed to bring together relevant stakeholders and to create the space for these reflections.
Objective of the debate
In light of the European Commission´s launch of the Safe Homes Guidance, the Housing Solutions Platform, a joint initiative by Foundation Abbé Pierre, FEANTSA and Housing Europe, organised an online debate with the aim of getting a better understanding of the initiative and how it can actually respond to the housing needs of the refugees fleeing Ukraine. Experts from both European and grassroot level together with representatives of the European Commission reflected on opportunities and risks linked to the provision of private accommodation. Discussants reflected on what further EU-level support is possible and needed for long term housing solutions, beyond private accommodation.
To find our more, you can read the event program as well as find the speakers' presentations below.