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We are back for our second edition, with a growing audience, to continue to shed light on inspiring stories and changemakers all around us.

Don’t forget to share YOUR solutions with the Community of ReSolvers on your preferred platform. These will be published in the follow-up ‘Community Edition' at the end of the month. 

Then, we continue in March with our Issue #3 on ‘Gender Equality’, so stay tuned!

Issue #2 - February 2022 Homelessness

Homelessness is an avoidable human tragedy that is sadly normalized in our society, faced by at least 700.000 people in Europe. People without housing are topping the list of the most vulnerable groups, being subject - among other things - to extreme deprivation and having very limited access to social protection and public services.

Not only does this key social issue barely reach the media, but when it does, the articles rarely address the social innovations and initiatives already in place and working to solve this problem and give homeless people a chance at a decent life.

The solutions highlighted below show us that improvements are taking place - often at the local level - and that eradicating homelessness is an achievable goal, whether this is by providing homes unconditionally, by promoting mutual learning and dialogue, by offering legal support, or - on the prevention side - through different income and tenant protection schemes, essential during the Covid-19 crisis.

✍️ Everybody needs a home: how Finland deals with homelessness

By Juha Kaakinen and Saija Turunen for Eurozine in Finland on 15 July 2020 Pioneering the ‘housing first’ approach, which gives people homes unconditionally as soon as they need it, Finland has managed to drastically reduce its number of homeless people, while eradicating rough sleeping in Helsinki. Although costly at first, evidence from many countries shows that ending homelessness is more cost-effective than managing it.

Several other cities are adopting a similar strategy, including Brussels or Vienna.

📹 ‘Housing First’ prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness. Here’s a short descriptive video by Gwen Haworth for RainCity Housing:

🎧 Christophe and Tony, a friendship against poor housing

By Lise Verbeke for France Culture in Lille on 19 Nov 2021 (podcast in French) A few years ago, after meeting Tony, an undocumented member of the Roma community, Christophe decided to start sharing his comfort with those most in need. He created “la Ch’tite maison solidaire”, a project designed to rent your house on Airbnb (or other rental platforms) and use some of the funds to pay the rent of precarious families via housing organisations. 

✍️ A syndicate for homeless people in Zaragoza, Spain

By Eduardo Bayona for Publico in Zaragoza on 19 Apr 2021 With Covid-19 exacerbating housing exclusion, In Zaragoza, activists and citizens created a “syndicate for the homeless”, with a legal status to negotiate access to empty housing units (among other things) for homeless people. The same initiative has been developed in Barcelona.

✍️ York trials 'life-saving' pods for rough sleepers

By BBC in York on 30 Nov 2021 In York, the local government is testing pop-up accomodation for rough sleepers with life-saving technology to monitor the occupants’ breathing, which could help prevent early deaths. 🎧 Also in the UK, the podcast ‘The hotel for homeless people’ describes the UK government’s response to homelessness during the Covid-19 crisis, which consisted in housing as many people as possible in empty hotels. The government says 90% of rough sleepers were offered rooms in hotels that sat empty because of the lockdown.

✍️ Housing and COVID-19: How cities are supporting tenants, homeowners and homeless people

By C40 Knowledge Hub across Europe With the Covid-19 crisis severely impacting job security, people unable to pay rent could face evictions and homelessness. As a response, several cities have decided to ban evictions, to freeze rent for a specified period (in Barcelona and Vienna), and to provide financial support to low-income tenants (in Nantes).

City-to-city cooperation is also taking place, for instance via the Roof Network, with 9 EU cities working together to end homelessness.

✍️ EU Member States commit to pooling their resources against homelessness

By Mayeul Aldebert for Le Figaro across Europe on 24 Jun 2021 With the objective of eradicating homelessness by 2030, EU Member States launched the European Platform on Combating Homelessness. The goal is to pool resources, promote dialogue and mutual learning, and strengthen cooperation between all actors working to end homelessness. 

🏆 During this same conference in Lisbon, FEANTSA presented the 3rd edition (2021) of their “Ending Homelessness Awards”, identifying and celebrating the most inspiring projects that tackle homelessness.

Andy Burnham

Mayor in Manchester, UK Follow him on Twitter and his Mayor’s Charity on several platforms

The Mayor of Manchester is the patron of a charity bringing together people, businesses and communities to develop new ideas to prevent homelessness.

“It was almost like we had begun to accept it as an inevitable fact of modern life, that some people have to sleep in doorways. My pledge was about saying, Wake up, this is wrong, we are not accepting this."

Iarina Taban

Activist in Bucharest, Romania Follow her on Linkedin and the work of her organisation on Facebook.

In 2014, she created Ajungem MARI, an educational program for institutionalized children and young people. The program trains life mentors who offer the emotional connection that children need, fostering their growth and wellbeing, and contributing to reducing their risk of being victims of human trafficking or homelessness.

Kostas Bakoyannis

Mayor in Athens, Greece Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. The mayor of Athens has been active in the fight against homelessness. He pushed for a Homeless Bill of Rights recognizing the fundamental rights of all people to housing, employment, education, and health.

Éva Tessza Udvarhelyi

Activist in Budapest, Hungary See her Ashoka fellow profile, and the work of her Community participation office

Tessza’s work has gone from activism for homeless people’s rights to organising a large social housing movement in Hungary. She followed by the creation of an empowerment hub for people facing different kinds of social exclusion, with the potential to scale up the social movement culture in other Central and Eastern European countries.

Lou Macari

Activist in Stoke-on-Trent, UK Follow his work on Twitter or via the website of his foundation.

Ex-Manchester United footballer, Lou Macari now dedicates his life to helping people in poverty.

“In 2016, a news bulletin about the number of homeless people in Britain drove me on to the streets to find out for myself what life was like for someone who was homeless. Having seen the evidence, I made up my mind, that I would do everything I could to help those who find themselves homeless work towards better lives.”

  • Douche Flux aims to provide essential services in Brussels, including showers, lockers, laundrette, among many others, to those living in precarious circumstances.
  • Empty homes initiative addresses Ireland’s shortage of public and private housing by advocating for and securing the reuse of empty buildings (similar initiative in Strasbourg).
  • Steps provides a variety of help services to homeless people in Greece. They work to build relationships with the homeless and to assist them with food, housing, clothing or counseling.
  • Sleep pod offers emergency shelters in the UK, in the form of insulated sleeping “pods” for rough sleepers.
  • ORIG-AMI provides rough-sleepers with affordable insulated cardboard shelter in Belgium. Each of us can support the process by sponsoring an orig-ami and a sleeping bag for €30.
  • The Pavement is a UK-wide publication (“yellow pages” style) giving useful news and information to homeless people.

We hope you found this content inspiring!

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