For an EU framework for national homeless strategies based on the principle of "Housing First"

EESC opinion: For an EU framework for national homeless strategies based on the principle of "Housing First"

Key points


  • welcomes the launch of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness (EPOCH) and the European Commission's work on homelessness and calls for sustained attention to be given to homelessness in EU social policy in the run-up to the European elections and beyond;
  • advocates designing an EU homelessness strategy that fully incorporates EPOCH, with national policies on combating homelessness being integrated into the European Semester exercise. This strategy should be underpinned by a Council Recommendation on homelessness. The EESC therefore calls on the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU to start work on a Recommendation;
  • calls on the European Commission to draft a proposal for a new multiannual work programme as soon as possible and in close collaboration with all stakeholders, making use of the European Social Fund Plus and the European Regional Development Fund to fund housing solutions for homeless people;
  • recognises that the ''Housing First'' principle uses housing as a key instrument of reintegration rather than the outcome of a reintegration process in the shelter system. It provides long-term housing to homeless people as a start, without making it conditional upon accepting support and demonstrating personal development progress;
  • acknowledges that the logic behind ''Housing First'' is that the stability and security that housing brings empowers homeless people to more successfully tackle their other problems, and that services are more effectively and efficiently delivered to people when they are housed securely;
  • suggests that EPOCH should actively promote the "Housing First" principle as a systemic solution to chronic homelessness, while also rolling out a European training programme to increase the take-up of ''Housing First'' in the Member States;
  • calls on the Member States to live up to their commitment as signatories of the Lisbon Declaration to make substantial progress towards ending homelessness by 2030, while setting ambitious, credible and attainable milestones to achieve this goal;
  • calls on the Commission to continue mainstreaming the objective of combating homelessness in all relevant EU actions and strategies, including in the EU Gender Equality Strategy, the EU LGBT Strategy, the EU Roma Strategic Framework, the EU Disability Strategy, the EU Child Guarantee, the EU Social Economy Action Plan, the New Pact on Migration and Asylum and the EU's comprehensive approach to mental health.