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31st August 2012
The Geographies of Homelessness: Homeless Experiences and Homeless Policy in Different Spaces



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HABITACT - The European Exchange Forum on Local Homeless Strategies


Background

HABITACT is a European forum which facilitates policy exchange on local homeless strategies. Upon the initiative of eight European cities, HABITACT was created in 2009 with the help of FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with Homeless People.
It was established in response to growing interest and demand for information on homelessness from local authorities around Europe.

More than 100 million people in Europe are threatened by or living in poverty. In the framework of the “EU2020 Strategy” and its main initiative “European Platform Against Poverty and Social Exclusion”, the European Union aims to reduce this number by 20%.

Poverty and social exclusion can be addressed most effectively at the local level - the crucial level for policy change and impact. Therefore, HABITACT aims to build capacity of local policy-makers to reduce homelessness in their local communities through facilitating transnational exchange and through driving evidence-based social innovation.


Member Cities

Århus (Denmark), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Athens (Greece), Bærum (Norway), Copenhagen (Denmark), Dublin (Irland), Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Ghent (Belgium), Gothenburg (Sweden), Madrid (Spain), Odense (Denmark), Venice (Italy) and Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)
More information here.


Objectives

  • HABITACT aims to be a reputable source of expertise on local homeless strategies.
  • HABITACT aims to create effective means of tackling homelessness at local level through European policy exchange.
  • HABITACT aims to induce a learning process between local level authorities based on a  practitioner-focused
    approach to European exchanges.
  • HABITACT pools expertise to allow for the joint development of common frameworks to address common challenges.


Activities

  • HABITACT research and policy tools
    HABITACT policy exchanges are facilitated by European research and policy tools (such as the ETHOS Typology of Homelessness and Housing Exclusion). HABITACT is coordinated by FEANTSA. Thus, HABITACT member have access to the FEANTSA's latest research and expertise on homelessness. Since its launch, HABITACT has developed links with more than 80 loal authorities across Europe and with EU level policy-makers.
    The expertise gathered through these exchanges is disseminated widely through relevant toolkits, publications and webtools (e. g. the HABITACT online policy bank).
  • HABITACT e-bulletin
    In addition to exclusive weekly mailings for member cities, HABITACT publishes the quarterly e-bulletin, a newsletter with local news on homelessness, relevant news on European policy developments, local trends and a special thematic focus every issue (e. g. Sports as a tool for social inclusion, ICT and homelessness, Structural funds and homelessness…). It can be downloaded here.
  • HABITACT peer reviews
    In order to facilitate in-depth discussions between local civil servants on homeless policy-making, HABITACT organises peer reviews. The peer review method takes a local strategy, project or approach as the starting point for European exchanges on local homeless policy-making.
    The 2010 peer review was held in Amsterdam (Netherlands), the 2011 peer review was hosted by the Municipality of Gothenburg (Sweden). The 2012 peer review will be held in Ghent (Belgium) and will take a closer look at the city's work with social landlords. Read more here.
  • HABITACT seminars
    Once a year, HABITACT, in cooperation with the EU Committee of the Regions and FEANTSA, organises a seminar on local homeless strategies. These seminars inspired the creation of HABITACT. The last seminars were on “Homelessness in Public and Private Spaces” and “Governance of Homeless Service Provision at Local Level”. Read more here.
  • HABITACT funding monitor
    In order to facilitate European exchanges, HABITACT helps its members to find sources of funding for European homelessness projects. The HABITACT coordination unit is constantly monitoring various EU funding programmes (URBACT, Seventh Framework, PROGRESS, Lifelong Learning etc.)
  • HABITACT projects
    HABITACT supports the creation of European projects on homelessness. The latest project set up in cooperation with HABITACT cities is “Housing First Europe” (HFE). Led by the Danish National Board for Social Services (Servicestyrelsen) together with the German research institute GISS, HFE is testing and evaluating Housing First projects in five European cities in order to gain greater clarity on the potential and the limits of the approach. The project receives funding under the EU’s PROGRESS programme. For more information go to www.housingfirsteurope.eu.

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HABITACT is open to all local practitioners in EU/EEA countries who are working in the area of homelessness.
For further information about HABITACT, please visit the website: www.habitact.eu or contact info@habitact.eu