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Addressing homelessness across the EU: the development of strategies for social and housing policies


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Title: Addressing homelessness across the EU: the development of strategies for social and housing policies

Addressing homelessness across the EU the
development of strategies for social and housing
policies and NAPs
  • Henryk Adamczuk
  • UCE Birmingham

No Common European Definition
  • In 25 states -460 million people-each with a
    unique word for homeless and several debatable
    alternatives (Brousse 2004).
  • Fewer definitions than members because some
    states have no legal definition, whereas UK boast
    four separate legal definitions, one for each
    jurisdiction (Adamczuk 2005).

Is Social Europe more cohesive than US?
  • As far as homelessness is concerned there is no
    comparative measure
  • But other variables can be compared population
    profiles, urbanisation, migration, level of
    minority ethnic composition, social class/status
    and unemployment.

EU Right to Housing?
  • There is no current agreement on the status of a
    right to housing (CECHODAS 2005)
  • Interpretation of Lisbon 2000 Agenda right of
    access to decent housing?

Types of Questions
  • 1 How many people are homeless within the EU?
  • 2 What are the causes of homelessness within the
  • 3 Evaluation of efficiency or effectiveness of
    homelessness policy

Key Questions and focus
  • Question 3 requires a separate methodological
    justification from the first two types.
  • Such questions are potentially solvable provided
    the actors can agree initially on definitions and
    categories, the adoption of a multiple
    perspective (Pawson and Tilley 1997) and greater
    rigour in theoretical development than hitherto
    policy research associated with social exclusion
    (Walker 2005).
  • The remainder of the paper traces the process of
    a coordinated response to the problem of

Scoring both economic and social goals?
  • Social exclusion agenda in Europe is subservient
    to economic growth
  • (Kleinmann 2002)
  • … employment creation has limitations in
    addressing groups that cannot access employment,
    the elderly and disabled and there is the
    potential weakness of adopting minimum standards
    rather than more radical visions such as social
    quality (Walker 2005).

OMC Lisbon 2000
  • This method, which is designed to help Member
    States to progressively develop their own
    policies, involves
  • 1 fixing guidelines for the Union combined with
    specific timetables for achieving the goals
    which they set in the short, medium and long
  • 2 establishing, where appropriate, quantitative
    and qualitative indicators and benchmarks
    against the best in the world and tailored to
    the needs of different Member States and sectors
    as a means of comparing best practice
  • 3 translating the European guidelines into
    national and regional policies by setting
    specific targets and adopting measures, taking
    into account national and regional differences
  • 4 periodic monitoring, evaluation and peer review
    organized on a mutual learning process

Evaluation of OMC
  • considered OMC as an informal a soft
    instrument The general aim of the OMC is to
    agree common objectives at EU level that are not
    legally binding, and to support the convergence
    of policy objectives and policy outcomes, while
    respecting national diversity in policy
    approaches and institutional settings. (Büchs
  • … clever mechanism to encourage …convergence
    (Walker 2005)
  • The fact that no European policy has been
    imposed on national/local authorities has enabled
    many, although not all Member States to develop
    policies to tackle homelessness according to the
    nature of homelessness and the profile of
    homelessness in their respective countries
    (FEANTSA 2005)

My argument with OConnor
  • OConnor whether the open method more broadly
    applied across pensions policy could offer more
    than discursive transformation and whether the
    approach impacted on professional and political
    elites (2005).
  • Research must involve more than adding to the
    political language of social policy and should
    evaluate the new opportunities for implementing
    national policy with greater potential of
    coordination so Europe.

EU Joint Report 2005
  • No5 Ensuring decent accommodation
  • Improving housing standards and addressing the
    lack of social housing for vulnerable groups.
    Several member states are developing integrated
    approaches to tackle homelessness
  • No 7 Overcoming discrimination and increasing the
    integration of people with disabilities, ethnic
    minorities and immigrants
  • enforcing legislation to overcoming
    discrimination and developing targeted

Dec 2005 and 2006 EU Inclusion and FEANTSA Reports
  • It is difficult to assess the original goals and
    the learning from the 2003-2005 National Action
    Plan process has been modified by economic
    management pressures or debates relating to new
  • However the change in the language identified
    previously does suggest some degree of moderation
    took place over this phase of evaluation.
  • FEANTSA 2005 framework of ten criteria of issues
    showing considerable variations in levels of
    achievement but progress was being made.
  • FEANTSA 2006 identified the 2001-2005 as the
    first phase with significant results and that the
    OMC can be developed as a policy development tool
    at all levels. It identified certain best
    practices which could be replicated the rough
    sleepers in England.

Drilling Deep for Information
  • Drilling deep into the policy process
    decisions on agenda setting and priorities are
    being made the way NAPs are drafted and agreed
    prior to dissemination.
  • The COOP Model has the potential for use as a
    pan European method for implementation of the
    social inclusion agenda with specific reference
    to homelessness it is voluntary and so falls
    short of compulsion but member state might wish
    to bring in the COOP type network and legislate
    on the basis of an agreed peer review.
  • FEANTSA act to remind members that there are
    commitments to increasing social protection
    measures but just as homeless people are not
    heard nationally, they are not heard in
    international policy networks.
  • Reflecting on the UK homelessness policy
    initiatives, there is far more to the sum total
    of inclusion and homelessness than the statements
    formulated in the NAPs.

Future Focus of NAPs
  • An identifiable national inclusion policy with
    some legislative …by monitoring of policies and
    national … statistical data.
  • A regional/city dimension to policy making on
    homelessness and social inclusion, where the body
    is given the duty to set a strategic agenda with
    data collection and coordination covering the
    supply and demand for housing and social support
  • A local authority dimension where there are
    duties to certain categories of vulnerable groups
    and a duty to set a local authority strategy,
    involving coordination between agencies in
    meeting the housing and social support for
    vulnerable groups, reflecting joined up
  • The need to address the implementation gap.

  • The challenge is to locate micro qualitative
    evaluation within the broader macro level social
    science processes and generate a coherent series
    of reports bridging research and best practice.
  • Finally there is a strong role for better theory
    to inform these evaluative projects.