Ending homelessness until 2030: the launch of the European Platform on combatting homelessness
On 21st of June, EU institutions, civil society organisations and local and regional authorities have met at the high-level conference in Lisbon launching the European Platform on combatting homelessness. The Platform is symbolic as it is the highest-level commitment to addressing homelessness at EU level thus far. Concretely, it is expected to support national, regional and local actors in their fight against homelessness through exchange of good practices and learning, monitoring, good practice, evidence-based policies, and the use of EU funds and finance to address homelessness. It is a commitment of the Action Plan on the Pillar of Social Rights - adopted by leaders in May 2021.
The launch conference titled “Combatting Homelessness -A Priority for our Social Europe” was hosted by the Portuguese Presidency of the EU Council in Lisbon. On this occasion the 27 EU Member States and stakeholders such as FEANTSA and Housing Europe signed the Lisbon Declaration on the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness.
In the declaration, signatories acknowledge that homelessness is one of the most extreme forms of social exclusion, negatively affecting people’s physical and mental health. They further acknowledge “the growing evidence about effective interventions to prevent and solve homelessness, such as housing-led approach and the importance of “housing affordability for vulnerable groups”.
The goal to end homelessness by 2030 was clearly stated by the signing parties. National, regional and local authorities engaged in promoting the prevention of homelessness, access to permanent housing and the provision of enabling support services to the homeless.
At the conference, the Portuguese Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho said that the Platform is a starting point for putting homeless people in the centre of policies.
In his speech, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit recognised that in the EU the goal to providing affordable housing to all has not been met so far. The European Commission advises Member States to invest in social housing and housing renovation, which can open perspectives for homeless people, or those affected by energy poverty. The Commissioner mentioned several funding streamlines including the social window of the InvestEU programme as relevant for the financing of social infrastructure, including social housing and housing for homeless people.
The former Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme was appointed Chair of the Platform. The rotating Presidencies of the Council are invited to convene at least biennial high-level meetings of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness.