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Delivering a European campaign to end street homelessness

Delivering a European campaign to end street homelessness

Delivering a European campaign to end street homelessness

Monday, June 24, 2019

Patrick Duce, Campaign Impact Manager at World Habitat, shares his learning from the European End Street Homelessness Campaign.

In 2015, World Habitat set about developing a bold new European campaign to end street homelessness – taking learning from across the world to deliver a campaign that would challenge the status quo of how homelessness services were delivered. The World Habitat Awards have been running since 1985 – a unique worldwide competition identifying innovative and ground breaking solutions to some of the most challenging housing problems. In 2013 and 2014 the 100,000 Homes Campaign in the USA, and the Y-Foundation in Finland, won World Habitat Awards for their approaches to tackling homelessness. Their combination of community led interventions and focus on Housing First have shown how homelessness is not inevitable.

We are delighted to be able to share our first Impact Report, demonstrating the amazing work that has taken place through a network of European campaigns all focused on one shared aim – to end street homelessness. Our model is based on those areas - like USA and Finland - that have been successful in significantly reducing or ending homelessness in recent years. For that reason, we know that we need to improve understanding of who is rough sleeping in a local area. This includes taking the time to involve the general public in the process and ensuring that people experiencing homelessness can fully share their stories and say what they need and want. Over the past three years the European Campaign has trained and supported just under 3,000 community volunteers to get out on the streets with local frontline agencies and engage with people experiencing homelessness.

Our report shows how embedding new practices requires both time and leadership but above all else, a willingness from key stakeholders to act together. Without certain factors in place though, delivering meaningful change is not easy. In Bratislava, we see the real challenges that frontline services face in advocating for housing rights, when there is no formal definition of homelessness in Slovakian law. In Alicante and Valencia we saw great enthusiasm in mobilising their communities to deliver initial community outreach events, yet as homelessness services switched their focus to developing national strategies, sustaining local participation was a challenge. In Barcelona, their campaign has had a profound impact on how homelessness is measured and responded to by the city authority - consistent good practice has forged a path for the local policy makers to follow.

There is no escaping the differences in cultural, political, funding and human experiences between many of our cities, but World Habitat sees this as a strength. That’s why we organise peer exchanges, city visits, webinars and fund innovative projects across the campaign. Several years on from taking our first bold steps, we are now in a position to talk with greater confidence about a European model of campaigning using the knowledge gained from cities as diverse as Brussels, Alicante, Barcelona, Glasgow and Leicester. The Impact Report summarises just some of their key areas of homelessness work, demonstrating the ways that each campaign city is addressing street homelessness in their local area. We’ve put all these resources together into a campaign toolkit so those on the frontline can use the tools we have developed. This is available for everyone, whether you’re a campaign city or not, to help you in your own work.

Download the Impact Report here

Sign up to our e-bulletin newsletter here to learn more about homelessness across Europe.

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Photo credit: Arrels Fundacio

 

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