European charter for the right to housing and the struggle against exclusion

OUR CONVICTIONS

1. We promote the right to housing for all. It is a fondamental right, not merely a right to shelter. It is a right to dignity and citizenship.

2. We want Europe to become a community whose members stand together not just as a large, unified market. We do not accept that within a thriving Europe, certain parts of the population can be denied the right to housing.

3. We think that social exclusion demands comprhensive treatment. Exclusion from housing is caused by, and a result of, a wider economic, social and cultural exclusion. Merefore merely providing shelter is not sufficient. Exclusion must be dealt with at the roots and social rinsertion conceived as part of a wide process of which housing is only a part.

4. We are convinced that we cannot participate in the struggle against exclusion without the involvement of those who are excluded. We must help them become aware of their identity and abilities, and allow them to strengthen their social bonds and take an active part in seeking solutions to their problems.

5. We feel that broad social programs which are divided into smaller sectorial assistance programs do not help address the problem of exclusion from housing. We denounce programs in which vulnrable individuels are asked to support solutions invented for them yet without consulting them.

6. We recognize that a free housing market excludes a significant part of the population from decent housing. Yet the construction of so-called social housing is not sufficient to effectively deal with the problem of exclusion. The administration of public funding, management attitudes and the ability to recognize the diversit of people’s needs and desires, and their capacity to take the initiative and be independent are as important as the amount of public aid allocated to house the disadvantaged.

7. We do not believe in ali-embracing solutions, coming from on high, which do not take into account either the diversity of situations where exclusion exists nor geographical and cultural considrations.

8. Excluded people are condemned to silence. We are very much aware of the risk we take if we speak on their behalf. we are therefore deterinined to promote an exchange of information and expriences between the excluded people themselves.

9. We think that the right of mobility and rsidence in Europe will in a way help to harinonise European housing policies. We want to make sure that the process takes into account the common exprience we have in the struggle against exclusion.

10. We are convinced that there is also much to leam from the exprience of non- European countries against exclusion, in particular that of ‘Mird World countries.

11. We also think that legislative, legal and financial policies are important but not sufficient in the struggle against exclusion. It is much more important to direct people’s mentalities, prjudices and know-how towards the struggle against exclusion and the promotion of new approaches in dealing with it.

12. We consider housing is one of the most important social exlusion proof. It is necessary all European Community governments concert permanently, in order to link national housing policies with social and economic european policies.

OUR GOALS

1. Promote the right to housing in Europe and develop practices against exclu- sion which comply with our common convictions.

2. Become a rfection forum for comparisons and debate on the struggle against exclusion. Decide upon initiatives and publcize them.

3- Develop a decontralized system Of exch8nging expriences and mutual training.

4. Draw up, by taking exprience into considration, a platform of proposais to be publicized and presented to all relevant organizations.

5. Build up the capacity to assess public housing policies and submit propos- als to EEC countries as weil as to the new Eastom European counthes.

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