Greece: The costs of not tackling homelessness – emerging trends


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Presentation given by Stelios Kampouridis
Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, Greece, at a FEANTSA seminar on "Funding strategies: Building the case for homelessness", hosted by the Committee of the Regions, June 2012

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Greece: The costs of not tackling homelessness – emerging trends

  1. 1. Greece: The costs of not tacklinghomelessness – emerging trends Stelios Kampouridis Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity
  2. 2. Presentation topics• Current situation in Greece• European policy framework• Greek public policy  General social policy framework  Wider context of policies related to housing  Policies for the homeless• Conclusion
  3. 3. Current situation• Lack of reliable statistical data• Clear indications of increasing trends (data from NGO and municipal authorities)• Short-term assessment that the increasing trends will continue
  4. 4. Current situation• Trend of change in the profile of the homeless• Vulnerable social groups  Immigrants/Refugees  Drug/alcohol users  Mental health patients  Roma• Emergence of a neo-homeless population (including families)  Unemployment  Loss of residence  Lack of family/supportive environment
  5. 5. European policy framework• Economic crisis context /Restrictive policies• Social policy in general as a low priority for the EU. Need for a European strategy on homelessness. 2014-2020 period.• Management of immigration as a European issue
  6. 6. Public policy in Greece General social policy framework• The economic crisis and the applied restrictive policies• Increasing need for social protection policies• Reduced spending for social protection policies• Is the rapid decline in living standards -without the development of a basic protective safety net to prevent extensive marginalisation phenomena- socially affordable?
  7. 7. Public policy in Greece Wider context related to housing• Parameters: Planned abolition/restriction of Greek Workers Housing Organization - institution for the implementation of social housing and targeted homelessness prevention policies Limiting spending on policies for (mental) health, welfare, dealing with drugs and social security Does the necessary economic streamlining of the social protection system lead inevitably to the limitation of the right of access to housing and health/welfare services? Significant increase in cases of inability to repay home loans. Suspension of forced sales of residences until the end of 2012. Recent changes in the eviction process (acceleration) The management of migration flows as an issue that exceeds the management capabilities of Greece
  8. 8. Public policy in Greece Policies for the homeless• Recent inclusion of the issue in public debate• Existing/ scheduled policies• Attempt to form an integrated public policy
  9. 9. Policies for the homeless – Existing actions• Main existing actions:  Social shelters  Emergency temporary housing or financial aid services  Support services (social markets, pharmacies, clinics)  Housing schemes for special groups (structures for asylum seekers, trafficking victims, abused women/children, mental health patients, unaccompanied or neglected children, rent subsidies for the elderly).• Scheduled actions  Emergency shelters  Day centres  Support services• Active reintegration policies  Doubtful accessibility by the homeless population  Doubtful effectiveness without prior solution of their housing problem• The role of civil society. NGOs, Church and local non-institutional support/solidarity actions
  10. 10. Policies for the homeless – Existing actions• Primarily oriented towards actions managing the issue• Lack of homelessness prevention policies
  11. 11. Policies for the homeless – An integrated public policyEstablishment of a committee to draft an action plan for the homeless First attempt to form an integrated public policy within an uncertain political/administrative context
  12. 12. Policies for the homeless – Definition of homelessnessRecent legislative definition of the homeless as a vulnerable group entitledto social protection. Based on ETHOS typology“The homeless are acknowledged as a vulnerable social group entitled to social protection. The homeless are defined as all individuals residing legally in the country, who lack or have insecure access to adequate owned, rented or bestowed accommodation that meets the necessary technical specifications and has the basic water and electricity services. Homeless people are especially those living on the street, in shelters, those who are temporarily hosted in institutions or other closed structures out of necessity, and those living in unfit housing."
  13. 13. ConclusionThe challenge of developing a policy ofprevention and tackling homelessness underconditions of  increasing poverty  restrictive policies/ reduced spending for social protection policies  an uncertain economic/ political/ administrative context in Greece and the E.U.