One of the main recommendations emerging from a consensus conference on the topic of homelessness, organised on 9 December 2010 by the Belgian EU Presidency, was the implementation of an EU framework to propose common principles and working tools in order to support national strategies in the fight against homelessness.
Following a two-month reflection period, the independent jury published its recommendations on 8 February concerning an EU support policy for homeless people, on the basis of questions selected by a preparatory committee comprising the homeless, public authority representatives, NGOs and academics. The formula, which has never before been implemented socially at EU level, aims to solve the problems under discussion via a collaborative process.
The jury has recommended the implementation of an EU strategy in order to support the development of national and regional strategies to combat homelessness. This, in turn, is intended to encourage integrated approaches and good governance; strengthening of member states' data acquisition capacities, the development and promotion of sharing of knowledge and best practice with regard to approaches towards finding accommodation, the promotion of high-quality services and the elaboration of answersato the growing problem at EU level, with member states setting deadlines to end both rough sleeping and long-termhomelessness.
Another key component of the strategy would be an ambitious research agenda - the jury has recommended that the European Commission support the development of a ten-year research programme, within the framework of the Progress programme and its successor. Other EU funds should also be used to support national strategies and, in particular, social experimentation, which is a pillar of the new Community platform (one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020' strategy).
ABSENCE OF STATISTICS
At present, there are no statistics on homelessness at EU level: such data are collected at national level, according to different definitions and methodologies that renders comparability impossible. …