Migrant Homelessness in the European Union

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Presentation given by Nicholas Pleace, University of York, UK, at a FEANTSA Research Conference on "Migration, Homelessness and Demographic Change", Pisa, Italy, 2011

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Migrant Homelessness in the European Union

  1. 1. Insert your logo here Migrant Homelessness in the European Union Nicholas Pleace University of York Interdisciplinary Center Sciences EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE for peace’ Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  2. 2. Migrant Homelessness Report based on a review conducted for Homelessness Research in Europe: Festschrift for Bill Edgar and Joe Doherty published in late 2010 Looked at evidence on nature and extent of migrant homelessness since the 2002 Feantsa Conference EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  3. 3. Findings Evidence was patchy in 2002 Remained patchy in 2010 Much of what there was centred on small scale exercises and counts Reports from service providers Though there was some larger scale research and analysis EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  4. 4. Broad Pattern 1 Economic migrants from Eastern EU member states appearing among people living rough in North Western Europe Concerns raised by policymakers and service providers, Dublin, Paris, London, Netherlands EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  5. 5. Broad Pattern 2 Undocumented migrants from Africa, Eastern Europe, Russian Federation and South America Appearing among people living rough in North West Europe Africans and people from South America appearing at high rates in Spain Africans appearing at high rates in Italy EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  6. 6. North Western EU Numbers of economic and undocumented migrants among people living rough increasing in North West Europe from before 2002 Changing composition of population of people living rough in some major North West European cities But numbers relatively very small EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  7. 7. Southern EU Numbers of African and other documented and undocumented migrants among people living rough substantial Data partial, but numerically more significant that numbers reported in North Western EU EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  8. 8. Forms of migrant homelessness Asylum seekers and refugees Failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants Women and children from outside EU who lose immigration status due to gender based violence A10 economic migrants who become homeless Ethnic and cultural minorities who are not recent migrants EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  9. 9. Legal status Legal status is key Illegal presence in a society tends to prohibit access to much of the welfare system, social housing and sometimes to at least some homelessness services UK term is „no recourse to public funds‟ – similar concepts exist elsewhere EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  10. 10. Legal status 2 Legal status is important in another sense What a “migrant” is varies between EU member states Sometimes children of migrants born in host country retain a „migrant status‟ in some societies (e.g. Germany) but are full citizens in others (e.g. UK):  Migrant homelessness in one context becomes homelessness among specific cultural/ethnic groups of citizens in another Ambiguities exist in relation to Roma, who while an established population, may have effectively lower legal status in country of origin and in any EU member state they migrate to EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  11. 11. Variation and Change Evidence of “early migration” homelessness that begins to cease once people become established in a society (Spain) Evidence of uneven experience of homelessness among some established migrant groups (UK, differences in homelessness levels between migrants with Indian and African origin, thought linked to socioeconomic status) EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  12. 12. Conclusions Trends do seem to exist Multiple forms of migrant homelessness do seem to exist But our data are often little more than partial Modes of exit from homelessness not well understood, to what extent do migrants self-exit over time, to what extent do they leave host country and return to point of origin, to what extent do they become long term homeless? EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011
  13. 13. Difficult questions EU member states cannot “import” social problems and/or housing need from other societies because it is not financially or politically sustainable Nor can the more economically prosperous parts of EU provide welfare and housing services to large numbers of citizens Finding a humanitarian response that allows decent treatment of homeless migrants but that works alongside immigration control is difficult, e.g. operation of supportive repatriation of Poles and other A8 migrants from London EUROPEAN RESEARCH CONFERENCE Homelessness, Migration and Demographic Change in Europe Pisa, 16th September 2011

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