EU Context

Local authorities are keen to work together at EU level, especially in these times of economic recession where vulnerability to homelessness is increasing and sustainable solutions are crucial. European policy and research tools (namely common definitions and understanding) now make it possible for local authorities to exchange practical information using a "common language". FEANTSA, European federation of national organisations working with homeless people, is funded by the European Commission to develop research and policy tools aimed at facilitating cooperation between homeless service providers, and is supporting the development of HABITACT so that local policy-makers can also benefit from European cooperation.

The current political/institutional context is such that homelessness is a key priority on the EU social inclusion agenda. Homelessness and housing exclusion were a top priority in 2009 for social affairs ministries in the 27 EU countries, and since then political momentum has been on the increase with calls for an EU homelessness strategy. The European Commission currently supports the fight against homelessness through research, experimentation, transnational exchanges, project funding, etc. In February 2013, the European Commission published its social investment package to link social policies to the Europe2020 strategy. The package included a document on "Confronting homelessness in the European Union" which includes guidelines on effective approaches to homelessness which should be integrated in the National Reform Programmes submitted annually in the framework of the Europe2020 strategy.