This working group (WG) is committed to combat homelessness in cities, by having an integrated approach on prevention and active inclusion of homeless population. The main focus of the cities is to strengthen the local and national strategies, and to implement effective policies, in order to reduce the share of population at-risk or in homelessness situation.

In 2020, the working group will focus on the following objectives: 

  1. Capacity building of cities on reducing homelessness among young people, in line with SAF priorities 'tackling housing poverty on homelessness' and 'a good start in life fo all children and young people'. 
    How we want to achieve it: 
    - Organise a working group meeting in Glasgow (spring) reflecting on the impact of Housing First policies for reducing homelessness, especially among young people
    - Develop synergies with other working groups from the social affairs forum, in particular WG housing

  2. Capacity building of cities on preventing and fighting homelessness among migrants, in line with SAF priorities on 'tackling housing poverty and homelessness' and 'diversity, social cohesion and integration of refugees and migrants'
    How we want to achieve it:
    - Organise a working group meeting in Lyon (autumn) on preventing and fighting homelessness among migrants
    - Develop synergies with other working groups from the social affairs forum, in particular WG migration
  3. Policy and advocacy on homelessness at EU level
    How we want to achieve it:
    - Develop a paper on the homelessness situation in cities, based on the contribution of cities part of the working group and the responses to EUROCITIES survey on the implementation of principle 19 of the European Pillar of Social Rights at local level.
    - Continue gathering and promoting pledges on principle 19 'housing and assistance for the homeless' as part of the 'Inclusive cities for all' campaign.
    - Engage with European stakeholders active on the question of homelessness, in particular through strategic dialogue with the European Commission.

These objectives contribute to the following EUROCITIES strategic objectives:

1.1 Fight urban poverty and social exclusion
1.2 Ensure access to adequate and affordable housing
1.3 Facilitate the inclusion of refugees, migrants, ethnic minorities and people

Main achievements from 2019

  1. 14 pledges to the European Pillar for Social Rights (EPSR) on principle 19 'housing and assistance for the homeless', as part of the 'Inclusive cities for all' campaign. Cities have pledged to more than 1290 new housing first, shelters and temporary housing for the homeless. Evidence from 25 cities implementing principle 19 of the EPSR was also gathered through the second survey part of the ‘Cities delivering social rights’ initiative. These results will feed into next years’ work.

  2. Growing number of active members involved in the working group, especially during the policy transfer in Poznan which welcomed 40 participants from 9 cities to reflect on Poznan’s approach and the situation of new groups at risk of homelessness. With its score qualification system, Poznan has developed a fair and effective way to identify the applicants most in need of social housing. But housing alone is often not the solution. In collaboration with NGOs, the city has therefore created a social housing programme combined with training support. After in-depth discussions and site visits, participating city experts identified the successes and challenges of Poznan’s practice. They also co-created solutions to city-challenges on early detection of people at risk of homelessness and on mental health and substance dependency. 

  3. Increasing synergies with other EUROCITIES working groups, in particular the WG housing and WG Roma inclusion. On 9-10 April, 35 city officers on homelessness and Roma inclusion from 15 European cities addressed the question of housing support for Roma during a policy transfer study visit in Toulouse. Through discussions with local policymakers, beneficiaries and practitioners, participants discovered how to transfer some inspiring practices from Toulouse’s policy to support Roma to move out of camps into adequate housing in the city. The city’s innovative approach combines housing solutions and integrated social support (including schooling, healthcare, employment, citizen involvement etc.). Four pre-selected ‘transfer’ cities presented their own challenged with regard to Roma inclusion and already took followup actions based on the advices received. This cooperation between the working groups resulted in the production of city guidelines to help cities move Roma people into adequate housing.


Gordon Smith

vice chair

Dobrochna Janas
Head of the Housing Projects Department

EUROCITIES staff contact

Solene Molard
EUROCITIES Brussels office
Policy and funding officer