In almost every European country homelessness is increasing. The most visible and distressing sign of this is the growing number of people sleeping on the street. Those that spend a prolonged period here will die younger than they should. And while homelessness is caused by a complex range of factors, there are actions we can take to address this.
BSHF is committed to ensuring that good practice is shared and transferred to other parts of the world and through the World Habitat Awards we are able to learn from the best housing projects across the globe. In 2013, one of the winners of the World Habitat Awards was the 100,000 Homes Campaign. Over four years, the campaign mobilised 186 communities across the United States to house over 100,000 chronically homeless people.
Following our peer exchange to Los Angeles in 2014, BSHF has been working with the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), and Community Solutions Inc., to develop The European End Street Homelessness Campaign. This is a movement of cities that are working together to permanently house Europe’s most vulnerable people and end chronic street homelessness by 2020.
We believe the time has come to stop managing homelessness and start ending it.
The cities actively participating in the campaign all agree to these key principles:
- Housing First: Ensuring homeless people are housed in permanent, safe, appropriate and affordable housing with the support necessary to sustain it.
- Knowing who’s out there: Getting to know every homeless person by name by going onto the streets to find them and understand their needs.
- Tracking progress: Regularly collecting and sharing person-specific data to accurately track progress towards ending homelessness.
- Improving local systems: Building coordinated housing and support systems that are simple to navigate, while targeting resources quickly and efficiently to the people who need it the most.
- Learning from and sharing with others: to help the campaign continuously improve.
By building a European movement of cities, we are strengthening the voice of those trying to end street homelessness locally. We are creating a learning network where those with knowledge and skills can share their experiences and collectively tackle their challenges.