The city of Budapest has today – Monday 21 June 2021 – officially joined the European End Street Homelessness Campaign, a network of cities working together to end street homelessness co-ordinated by World Habitat.
In Hungary, there is no comprehensive national policy to tackle homelessness and housing exclusion. Street homelessness is a crime, the limited amount of social housing available decreases year on year, and state support, such as municipal shelters, does not offer an effective path out of homelessness.
The housing renovation, employment support and housing rights advocacy NGO, Utcáról Lakásba! Egyesület / From Streets to Homes Association, will lead the city campaign in Budapest. It will work alongside European End Street Homelessness Campaign partners in cities including Barcelona, Bratislava, Glasgow, Brussels and London – sharing learning to work towards solutions to street homelessness.
Vera Kovács, co-leader of Utcáról Lakásba! Egyesület / From Streets to Homes Association, said:
“We believe that living in a home is the basis for human dignity. We have joined the Campaign to share our own experiences with other cities and learn from the best practices and innovative solutions being used elsewhere in Europe. As a member of the Campaign, we can amplify our voice in advocating for the changes we know are needed to tackle homelessness and housing exclusion in Budapest and throughout the country.”
From Streets to Homes Association is one of the first in Eastern Europe to adopt principles from the ‘Housing First’ model and combine permanent housing provision with wrap-around social support. It delivers housing for formerly homeless and marginalised individuals, currently managing 32 apartments with 77 tenants, as well as advocating for policy changes to ensure access to decent, affordable housing as a basic right.
It was internationally recognised in December 2020, when it was named a Bronze Award Winner in the World Habitat Awards. Currently, From Streets to Homes Association is part of a Hungarian coalition of NGOs, trade unions and groups advocating to prevent an amendment to national housing law which would privatise municipal housing stock – further deepening the current urban housing crisis and increasing housing inequality.
David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat, said:
“From Streets to Homes Association is making a real difference to the lives of many people, with an impact that goes beyond their size as an NGO. We are delighted to formally welcome them to the European End Street Homelessness Campaign and look forward to working together to achieve our shared vision of ending street homelessness and making housing a basic right for everyone.”