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Good Practice Transfer
Ending European Street Homelessness Campaign
Whilst the information we have about those living rough across Europe is imperfect, there are signs that the problem is becoming more acute. In the UK alone, government statistics suggest that the number of rough sleepers has increased by 55 per cent since 2010. Across Europe, a shortage of social and affordable accommodation and the rising costs of housing are contributing factors for this.
This raises questions for government policy, such as how to prevent homelessness and what programmes can be developed to house and support people, but also searching questions about whether we are respecting the fundamental rights of people to social and housing assistance.
In the midst of a worsening problem we may find some hope. At BSHF we are fortunate to learn from the most cutting edge and effective housing projects through the annual World Habitat Awards. In 2014, one of the Award winners was the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a project which successfully mobilised 238 communities across the United States to house 101,678 individuals in chronic housing need. The methods they applied were straightforward: asking each participating community to adopt a Housing First approach to immediately connect people to permanent supportive housing; encouraging them to get to know every homeless person by name; helping communities track progress and set benchmarks; and improving the use of local resources to help the most vulnerable.
In 2015, BSHF organised a peer exchange with the 100,000 Homes Campaign, enabling 14 homelessness practitioners from around the world to visit Los Angeles and learn from the Campaign. As a result of this exchange, a number of participants began discussing the transfer of the campaign model to a European context.
Since then BSHF has begun working with several organisations based in some of Europe’s biggest cities to set-up a European equivalent of the campaign. In alliance with the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), we are looking into how such a campaign might be organised, promoted and resourced.
BSHF is a catalyst in this process, and we know that it can only be achieved in close partnership with those organisations dedicated to ending homelessness in cities throughout Europe. We are investing our own resources to initiate the campaign and are working with pioneer cities, enabling them to learn from those who developed the 100,000 Homes Campaign. We are confident the campaign will grow over the coming years to enable all of Europe’s cities and towns can participate in a joint movement to end homelessness.
We will be posting regular updates on our website and in our newsletters. For any further information about the campaign or to share your suggestions, please contact tom.archer[at]bshf.org
International Peer Exchanges
BSHF works to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experience through a range of knowledge-sharing activities, including community exchange events and international peer exchanges carried out each year to the World Habitat Award winning projects.
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