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A HOME FOR EVERYONE
Ending homelessness is not insurmountable, if we work together
Homelessness is rising in the EU but it is not insurmountable, if European leaders, national governments, local authorities and all stakeholders work together. This is why, with the support of Europe’s biggest cities, over 120 MEPs, Europe’s regions and the main social NGOs, we are calling for the setting of an EU goal to end homelessness at the Porto social summit. Op-ed on behalf of Greens/EFA MEPs Kim Van Sparrentak, Katrin Langensiepen, Ernest Urtasun and Sara Matthieu
WE ALL DESERVE A NICE HOME
We want a housing system that works for people. Where everyone across Europe, from Paris to Warsaw, Dublin to Athens, has access to affordable, quality, healthy homes. We should all be able to rent a home without the “airbnb effect” driving up monthly prices, and we should even be able to buy a home, just like many of our parents and grandparents were able to do.
BUT THE RIGHT TO HOUSING IS NOT PROPERLY RESPECTED
Housing is too often treated as a market to make profit rather than a human right. Market manipulation and financial speculation has a dramatic effect on prices, which an increasing number of people in the EU struggling to afford the rising costs of housing. Housing quality is also a problem. Far too many people in Europe are living in overcrowded, damp, poorly insulated or otherwise unhealthy houses. And that’s the housing crisis for those who actually have a home. Any given night, 700.000 people are sleeping rough or in homeless shelters in the EU. This has to stop.
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WE CAN SOLVE THE HOUSING CRISIS, IF WE WANT TO
The EU can no longer hide behind the illusion it has no role on housing policy. There are multiple ways EU rules influence the housing market. The European Pillar of Social Rights aims at providing “housing and assistance for the homeless”, so it is time to turn it into action. The EU needs to take an ambitious stance on housing and to support strong collaboration to improve access to housing for all, at all levels.
OUR KEY DEMANDS
The EU needs to act to bring homelessness to an end:
1. Set a European goal of eradicating homelessness by 2030
Everyone has the right to a home. We call on the EU Commission to take stronger action to support Member States in reducing and eradicating homelessness by committing to end it by 2030.
2. Fight evictions and create inclusive housing markets
The European Commission must assess and propose, where appropriate, new laws to counter the financialisation of housing markets and stop speculators from making housing unaffordable.
3. Increase Europe’s affordable housing stock
There is a shortage of social housing in Europe, which is the main housing-related cause of homelessness.
4. Devise an integrated European strategy on housing
The European Union can no longer hide behind the fact that it has no competence on housing policy.
5. Prioritise the European Green Deal
The Renovation Wave can play a big role in providing healthy, adequate and accessible housing, tackling climate change, reducing energy costs and helping alleviate energy poverty.
6. Adapt European rules for digital platforms
We want to give cities more control over rentals via platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com.
7. Combat housing discrimination
It is high time to ensure equal treatment for all and non-discrimination in the search for affordable housing. Housing is a basic right for everyone.