Reversing Homelessness in Europe

An HORIZON 2020 Research Project

On behalf of our consortium of 12 partners for 9 EU Countries, we welcome everyone interested in the HOME_EU (2016-2019) project aimed to inform and promote change in European Public Policies on Homelessness.

Our starting argument for this Project was the persistent and prevailing situations of Homelessness in Europe, regarded as an expression of extreme social injustice.

EU countries and EU governance bodies have made substantive investments designing and implementing policies and programs. Yet, we have not been able to reverse long-term homelessness situations. All across Europe there are people that are continuously or intermittently homeless for very long periods across the life span, adding up to 15 and even 20 years.

There is a substantive body of research demonstrating that temporary and subsidiary housing solutions such as shelters, lodging centers, food, clothing, emotional supports and other services ameliorate people’s immediate suffering, but do not contribute to end Homelessness.

Since the 90’s, as a result of several studies focused on the homeless people’s needs, there were consistent reports on housing as a priority. Aligned with concomitant social movements involving people with disabilities, deinstitutionalization in mental health, and renovation of other social and health services a basis was created for the emergence of the Housing First approach.

José Ornelas

José Ornelas

What is Housing First?

It is a “glimpse of the obvious”.

To respond to homelessness we need to provide housing in first place, anchored in four fundamental assumptions:

  1. Immediate access to permanent independent housing;
  2. Separation of housing and treatment (of substance abuse, health & mental health problems);
  3. Scattered site apartments in the community;
  4. Support services available 24/7 oriented to promote community integration.

Science produced around this approach to homelessness, implemented since the 90’s in the United States, Canada and several European Countries, has demonstrated consistently that 85% to 90% of the homeless people, regardless, age, gender, health status or other personal or social problems, retain their individual housing option.

The major contribution of this approach is the focus on community integration, meaning the relation with neighbors, the engagement with community resources, and the connections with basic social and health services, including supports towards employment, and or education.

The HOME_EU Project integrates quantitative and qualitative information on the opinion of the EU Citizens about innovative policies for homelessness, the service users both in Housing First Programs, and other Homelessness Services, the Professionals supporting Housing First Programs, and also the other services, as well as the crucial stakeholders for homelessness policies in eight European countries.

Please feel free to ask us questions or request information. Your comments, suggestions and feedback are welcome.

José Ornelas
HOME_EU Principal Investigator