Press Release – 24th October 2014: Confronting Homelessness Must Remain a Priority in the EU Fight against Poverty


the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the
Homeless (FEANTSA) policy conference today, more than 400 experts,
including high level policymakers, came together
to discuss how to make progress on  homelessness in the European Union
(EU).  Several EU figures had messages about homelessness.

The 2014 FEANTSA Policy Conference, “Confronting homelessness in the EU: Seeking out the next generation of best
practices” started today in Bergamo, Italy.  The first day brought together more than 400 experts from across the world.

is a pressing social challenge throughout the EU. It denies people
access to fundamental rights and
incurs significant societal costs. In the context of its commitment to
fighting poverty and social exclusion, the EU plays an important role in
supporting Member States to develop and maintain strategies to combat

Participants in the conference discussed a wide range of challenges in the fight against homelessness at European
level and beyond, as well as the solutions to homelessness that exist, some of them new and innovative.

European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso contributed to the
discussion via video message.  President
Barroso sent a strong signal that, given the social impact of the
crisis on unemployment and poverty levels and the commitment to fighting
poverty in the Europe 2020 strategy, the unacceptable situation of
people experiencing homelessness must not be forgotten. 
“We need to join efforts in building a truly inclusive Europe, making
sure no one is left out”, he said.  He expressed his certainty that the
new European Commission will be “right behind” those working to fight

Andor, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs for the
past five years, also contributed
via video message. He summed up the ways in which the Commission has
supported the fight against homelessness during his mandate, such as the
guidance on homelessness in the Social Investment Package and mentioned
the potential role the European Structural
Funds can play in providing services and support for homeless people
and people at risk of homelessness in the future.  He said that the
Commission and FEANTSA had managed to “promote integrated homelessness
policies together” and “built up a community of
social innovators”.  He closed by saying that he was convinced that the
new Commission will keep homelessness high on the agenda.

Bergamo conference has shown today that stakeholders across the EU are
ready to work together and make a decisive
impact on homelessness. Doreen Huddart, Member of the EU Committee of
the Regions (CoR) explained the added value of EU cooperation to support
progress on homelessness, saying “Local and Regional Authorities play a
crucial role in the provision of strategies
and solutions to the problems of homelessness, social exclusion and
poverty across EU Member states. The Committee of Regions supports calls
from the European Parliament to progress strategies to develop
effective toolkits for use by Local Government, NGOs
and Housing Associations in their efforts to overcome housing problems,
while promoting best practice to prevent criminalisation of homeless

Juncker Commission has now taken office. As we move into the second
half of the Europe 2020 strategy period,
FEANTSA hopes that EU-level cooperation on homelessness will be
continued and strengthened. The EU has drifted away from the target it
set itself in 2010 of lifting 20 million people out of poverty. However,
there is still time to make a difference.  Together,
the EU institutions and Member States can ensure that the crisis does
not leave a legacy of more people facing homelessness for decades to
come. Better monitoring and support for homelessness policies in the
European Semester, mobilisation of Structural Funds,
mutual learning and transnational exchange, social innovation, capacity
building and research can all play an important role in stepping up the
fight against homelessness in Europe.

has no place in the future of the EU. FEANTSA invites all stakeholders,
and particularly the new
European Commission, to help build on the momentum of today’s
conference to support better progress on homelessness in the future”,
said Mike Allen, FEANTSA President.

———————- ENDS ————————–

For comment, please contact Freek Spinnewijn, FEANTSA
or +32 2 538 66 69


Notes for Editors:


    is the European Federation of National Organisations working with the
    Homeless.  It is an umbrella of not-for-profit organisations
    which participate in or contribute to the fight against homelessness in
  2. Conference page
  3. CoR call for an EU strategy on homelessness
  4. Social Investment Package (SIP)
  6. SIP Communication
  7. SIP Policy Guidance on Homelessness



Suzannah Young
Communications and Information Officer
European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless

Tel: +32 (0)2 230 48 86