Prevention strategies in the fight against homelessness


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Presentation given by Samara Jones, FEANTSA Policy Officer, summing up the 2004 FEANTSA European Report on Homelessness Prevention at a FEANTSA conference on Prevention, 2004

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Prevention strategies in the fight against homelessness

  1. 1. FEANTSA European Conference Budapest 2004European Conference on 7 October
  2. 2. Why prevention? Interest from FEANTSA member organisations Interesting work in some countries prompts idea of a European survey EU Common Objective to prevent social exclusion and homelessness Clear link to 2003 theme of cooperation and networkingEuropean Conference on 7 October
  3. 3. Approaching PreventionStep 1: Member Input Questionnaire – Concept of prevention – Approaches, policies, legislation – Examples of practice National Reports – High quality – Key FEANTSA resource – Available on websiteEuropean Conference on 7 October
  4. 4. Approaching PreventionStep 2: Synthesis by FEANTSA office Compiling of compendium of examples – Common format – Available on website – Dynamic – easy to update European report – Synthesis: description and analysis European Conference – Workshops for exchange and debateEuropean Conference on 7 October
  5. 5. Findings of European ReportConcept of prevention Absence of shared, defined concept of prevention Complicated by changing pathways into homelessness Lack of research Difficult for NGOs and governments to define preventionEuropean Conference on 7 October
  6. 6. Findings of European ReportPrevention at different levels Prevention aimed at underlying causes of homelessness Prevention aimed at groups identified as being at risk Prevention aimed at pre-empting personal crises Early intervention and assessment of risk factors are crucialEuropean Conference on 7 October
  7. 7. Findings of European ReportMonitoring and evaluation How can you measure something that has not happened? Example from the UK: prevention aimed at wide range of people – Leaving home education for young people – Good quality housing supportEuropean Conference on 7 October
  8. 8. Findings of European ReportGovernmental approaches to prevention Debate between strategic vs general approaches General: – Well structured, comprehensive, holistic social security system – prevention is inherent – For example: Denmark, France, Sweden, Spain Strategic: – Extra level of coordination deemed necessary – Development of strategies and policies that aim specifically to prevent homelessness – For example: Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, UKEuropean Conference on 7 October
  9. 9. Findings of European ReportFEANTSA Member experience National reports reflect NGO experience For most member organisations, prevention is a new topic Some countries (UK, Netherlands, Ireland, Finland) have more experienceEuropean Conference on 7 October
  10. 10. Findings of European ReportExisting strategies, policies, legislation Few countries have specific legislation Where legislation and policies exist, measurement and assessment is difficultEuropean Conference on 7 October
  11. 11. Findings of European ReportMethods and approaches European report includes a variety of methods - from prevention aimed at wider groups to prevention aimed at specific risk factors Education – Leaving home education for all young people, e.g. UK – Specific programmes for young people at risk, e.g. ItalyEuropean Conference on 7 October
  12. 12. Findings of European ReportMethods and approaches Evictions – Most Member States have legislation or policies in place – Many FEANTSA members involved – To be explored in Workshop 1 in the afternoon sessionEuropean Conference on 7 October
  13. 13. Findings of European ReportMethods and approaches Policies and legislation domestic violence – For an EU-wide picture, a more comprehensive survey of FEANTSA members is necessary on this topic – Appears to be a trend in some countries to pass legislation to allow the victim to stay in the home and force the abuser to leave – Networking of services is essential: e.g. in Belgium social welfare services work with police and the justice systemEuropean Conference on 7 October
  14. 14. Findings of European ReportMethods and approaches Information and advice – Exist in all Member States – In a variety of forms, locations, topics, etc. • Housing advice • Debt counselling • Family mediation services – Difficult to assess effectiveness – Examples included in compendiumEuropean Conference on 7 October
  15. 15. Findings of European ReportMethods and approaches Pre-release from institutions – Clear to identify people at risk of becoming homeless – Involves training of institution staff – Necessary to have and build networks outside institutions and work with non-traditional partners including health care workers, justice system and prison services – Examples included in compendium: • Ex-prisoners • People leaving hospitals and mental health care facilities • Young people leaving careEuropean Conference on 7 October
  16. 16. Findings of European ReportConclusions Assessment and evaluation – In most Member States it is too early to tell if existing measures are effective – Difficult to measure something that has not happened – There is perhaps a need to change the way that organisations and services think; most now focus on addressing immediate needs of homeless people as well as integration, but do not have time or resources to work on preventionEuropean Conference on 7 October
  17. 17. Findings of European ReportConclusions Perceived elements of effective prevention strategies: – Improved networking with non-traditional partners is essential – Need to understand roles played by different sectors including education, employment, housing, etc. – Improved understanding of changing causes of homelessness – Early intervention – Identification of risk factors – LegislationEuropean Conference on 7 October
  18. 18. Findings of European ReportConclusions Investment in prevention – Prevention is a long term solution which requires resources – Research into causes and pathways into homelessness is crucial to understand how to prevent it – Logical for governments to invest, because in the long run prevention is cheaper than providing services for homeless peopleEuropean Conference on 7 October