What is HABITACT?
HABITACT is a European exchange forum on local homeless strategies. It was launched with the support of FEANTSA (European federation of national organisations working with homeless people) in June 2009 by a core group of cities to develop European cooperation between local social policy administrations on tacking homelessness.
HABITACT was established in response to growing interest and demand for information on homelessness from local authorities across Europe. Support from the European Commission and patronage from the European Committee of the Regions will serve to further build cooperation to make progress on tackling homelessness.
- The European Parliament adopted a Resolution on an EU Homelessness Strategy (B7-0475/201) on 14 September 2011. The motion for the Resolution was presented by MEPs Karima Delli (France, Greens/EFA) and Pervenche Berès (France, S&D) on behalf of the EP Employment and Social Affairs Committee.
- In June 2012, the European Commission published its EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review - which gives special focus to South-North mobility, homelessness, material deprivation, social protection expenditure and longer-term trends in EU labour markets - the labour market and social situation in the EU have continued to be unfavourable overall and shows signs of polarisation. It says that homelessness has grown across the EU as many people experienced a sudden job loss or income drop in the recession. Young people and foreign nationals have been disproportionately affected.
- In June 2012, in its Conclusions on "Responding to demographic challenges through enhanced participation in the labour market and society by all", the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council of the European Union (bringing together Social Affairs Ministers from all EU Member States), invites the Member States and the European Commission to “develop and promote adequate schemes for persons who are homeless”.
Key 2013 Dates for HABITACT
13-14 June 2013: Final conference of Housing First Europe (Amsterdam)
12 June 2013: Annual FEANTSA-HABITACT seminar on "Tackling homelessness as a social investment for the future" (Amsterdam)
4-5 April 2013: 2013 HABITACT peer review in Dublin
EU publishes Social Investment Package
The European Commission presented a Communication on a "Social Investment Package for Growth and Cohesion" (SIP) on the 20th February 2013. The SIP analyses the social situation in Europe and sets out social priorities for the EU and European Member States. The package calls on Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states, and offers guidance to Member States on how best to use EU financial support, especially from the European Social Fund, to implement the outlined objectives. It emphasises homelessness as a priority for smart social investment and includes a recommendation for Member States to develop housing-led strategies to combat homelessness. This new policy framework should stimulate Member States to do better on homelessness and reinforce the EU’s support and co-ordination in this area, which could pave the way for an EU strategy on homelessness.