21 June 2021
© Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2021 / Pedro Sá da Bandeira
WE note that
- Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union mandates the Union to combat social exclusion and promote economic, social, and territorial cohesion.
- Principle 19 of the European Pillar of Social Rights stresses the need for social housing or housing assistance of good quality for those in need, the right to appropriate assistance and protection against forced eviction for vulnerable people and adequate shelter and services for people experiencing homelessness.
- the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 11 call for ending extreme poverty including homelessness, everywhere and ensuring access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing.
- the Council invited Member States and the European Commission to “continue to design and implement measures acknowledging and addressing homelessness and promote access to affordable housing for all”1.
- the European Parliament has called upon the European Commission in numerous reports and resolutions to develop a new policy coordination initiative on homelessness.2
- the primary responsibility for tackling homelessness lies with the Member States and their regional or local authorities.
- the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework and the Next Generation EU recovery instrument create scope for investment to tackle homelessness.
- the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan envisages the launch of a European Platform on Combating Homelessness to support Member States, cities and service providers in sharing best practices and identifying efficient and innovative approaches.
- In the Porto Social Commitment, the European Parliament, the Portuguese Council Presidency, the European Commission, EU social partners and the Social Platform have welcomed the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan and called on all relevant actors to join efforts to develop public policies that, at the appropriate level, strengthen social cohesion, fight against all forms of discrimination, including in the world of work, and promote equal opportunities for all, particularly also people experiencing homelessness.
- the Porto Declaration expresses the joint commitment of EU Member States at the highest political level to reducing inequalities, defending fair wages, fighting social exclusion and tackling poverty, taking on the objective of fighting child poverty and addressing the risks of exclusion for particularly vulnerable social groups, including the homeless; and welcoming the new EU headlines targets on jobs, skills and poverty reduction.
1 Conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing (26 November 2019)
2 the European Parliament resolution of 24 November 2020 on tackling homelessness rates in the EU (2020/2802(RSP)) and most recently European Parliament resolution of 21 January 2021 on access to decent and affordable housing for all (2019/2187(INI)
- that homelessness is one of the most extreme forms of social exclusion, negatively affecting people’s physical and mental health, well- being, and quality of life, as well as their access to employment and access to other economic and social services.
- that the phenomenon of homelessness affects all Member States and has increased substantially over the last decade in the EU.
- that addressing homelessness requires an understanding of how different groups in communities are impacted, including children, youth, women, single parents and large families, older persons, migrants, ethnic minorities and other vulnerable groups.
- the importance of reliable data collection on homelessness, including youth homelessness, with the involvement of relevant stakeholders, allowing common understanding, systematic comparison and monitoring at EU level.
- the complex root causes of homelessness, which include rising housing costs, insufficient supply of social housing stock or housing assistance, low income and precarious jobs, job loss, ageing and family breakdown, discrimination, long-term health problems and insufficiently prepared release from institutional settings.
- that the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the urgency of effective action to solve homelessness.
- the growing evidence about effective interventions to prevent and solve homelessness, such as housing-led approach.
- the importance of housing affordability for vulnerable groups and of social protection policies to guaranteeing a decent life. the role of the social economy and social services providers to address and prevent homelessness.
- the need for European policy support and coordination to promote progress, notably through mutual learning and support to collaboration.
WE agree to launch together the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness and to work towards the ending of homelessness by 2030, so that:
- no one sleeps rough for lack of accessible, safe and appropriate emergency accommodation;
- no one lives in emergency or transitional accommodation longer than is required for successful move-on to a permanent housing solution;
- no one is discharged from any institution (e.g. prison, hospital, care facility) without an offer of appropriate housing;
- evictions should be prevented whenever possible and no one is evicted without assistance for an appropriate housing solution, when needed;
- no one is discriminated against due to their homelessness status.
The European Platform on Combatting Homelessness will promote policies based on a person-centred, housing-led and integrated approach. It will:
- support mutual learning for policy-makers and practitioners;
- contribute to harness EU funding possibilities;
- strengthen evidence and monitoring on homelessness;
- disseminate and promote good practices, including through a European Prize;
- review progress towards the eradication of homelessness by 2030.
WE, the European Commission, will:
- support monitoring of homelessness, through the European Semester process and the Social Protection Committee, with a view to provide a quantitative and qualitative assessment of progress made;
- support mutual learning of good practices for combatting homelessness and explore further the implementation of successful existing models;
- promote the use of EU funding to support inclusive policy measures aiming at combatting homelessness;
- strengthen analytical work and data collection in order to promote evidence-based policies and initiatives addressing homelessness4.
4 in accordance with Regulation 019/1700 of 10 October 2019 establishing a common framework for European statistics relating to persons and households, based on data at individual level collected from samples
WE, the European Parliament, will:
- take an active part in and host meetings of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness;
- promote and support policies aiming at reducing poverty, especially among children and ending homelessness by 2030, and therefore, building on the actions announced in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, continue to work towards comprehensive European anti-poverty policies, pursuing the UN SDGs and helping achieve the EU 2030 headline poverty target.
- continue closely following the evaluation of the use of relevant EU funding to address the problem and root causes of homelessness in the Union.
WE invite the rotating Presidencies of the Council:
- to convene at least biennial high-level meetings of the European Platform on Combatting Homelessness;
- to support efforts of all stakeholders, including non-governmental organisations, to combat homelessness.
WE invite stakeholders engaged in the fight against homelessness at European, national, regional and local level to undersign this Declaration.
Adopted in Lisbon on 21 June 2021
European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit
Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová
European Committee of the Regions
Rapporteur on the Social Pillar, Anne Karjalainen
European Economic and Social Committee
Vice-president, Giulia Barbucci
Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection, Wolfgang Mückstein
Minister of Pensions and Social Integration, in charge of Persons with Disabilities and Combating Poverty, Karine Lalieux
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labour and Social Policy, Galab Donev
State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Marija Pletikosa
Minister of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurance, Zeta Emilianidou
Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, Martina Stepankova
Minister of Social Affairs and Senior Citizens, Astrid Krag
Minister of Social Protection, Signe Riisalo
Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Krista Mikkonen
Minister Delegate to the Minister of Ecological Transition, in charge of Housing
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Domna Michailidou
Secretary of State of Social Affaires, Attila Fülöp
Minister of labour and social policies, Andrea Orlando
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O'Brien
Minister of Welfare, Gatis Eglītis
Vice-Minister of Social Security and Labour, Vytautas Šilinskas
Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the greater Region, Corinne Cahen
Minister for Social Accommodation, Rodrick Galdes
State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport, Paul Blokhuis
Secretary of State, Ministry of Family and Social Policy, Stanisław Szwed
Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho
State Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, Mihnea Drumea
State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Soňa Gaborčáková
Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Janez Cigler Kralj
State Secretary for Social Rights, Ignacio Álvarez Peralta
Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren
President, Kjell Larsson
President, Piotr Sadowski
European Social Network
Chair, Christian Fillet
Council of European Municipalities and Regions
President, Stefano Bonaccini
President, Dario Nardella
President, Bent Madsen
Social Economy Europe
President, Juan Antonio Pedreño
ETUC | European Trade Union Confederation Confederal
Secretary General, Liina CarrPage
Secretary General, Valeria Ronzitti