The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) endorsed today the official launch of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness and signed the Lisbon Declaration, which sets the target of eradicating homelessness in Europe by 2030. The SEDEC Commission Chair Anne Karjalainen, who represented the CoR in the high-level conference and official signing, highlighted the importance of successful regional and local approaches to tackle the phenomenon which currently affects an estimated 700 000 people in Europe.
The Declaration on Combatting Homelessness was signed today in Lisbon by high-level representatives of Member States and EU institutions, led by the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and Portugal’s Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho. It acknowledges that the primary responsibility for tackling homelessness lies with the Member States and their regional or local authorities.
By launching the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness with the Portuguese EU Council Presidency, the European Commission aims to support Member States, cities and service providers in sharing best practices and identifying efficient and innovative approaches. The Commission commits to provide a quantitative and qualitative assessment of progress at national level and promote the use of EU funding to support inclusive policy measures aiming at combatting homelessness.
Anne Karjalainen (FI/PES), Chair of the CoR’s Commission for Social Policy, Employment, Education, Research and Culture (SEDEC), said: “Homelessness and housing exclusion can be eliminated only when their underlying causes are concurrently dealt with. The implementation of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights must be the guiding principle in this effort. Municipalities and cities play an important role in urban planning, providing social housing and addressing social exclusion, which is why eradicating homelessness requires primarily a place-based approach. Regional, and even more so, local authorities, are perhaps the only authorities that are aware of the extent of the phenomenon on the ground and of individual circumstances leading to it. In my country, Finland, and in my own municipality Kerava, homelessness has been steadily decreasing since 2013, and this decrease is in large part due to accurate mapping of this phenomenon.”