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Almost 1,000 people were moved into permanent accommodation last year in cities which are part of our European End Street Homelessness Campaign. This is one of many successes highlighted in our Impact Report 2020, published today, which details how partners from across the European network have worked together to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and support people off the streets and into homes.

The report illustrates the invaluable emergency COVID-19 response of campaign partners in their local areas, which saw over 500 people accommodated in temporary hotel accommodation in Westminster, over 700 people experiencing homelessness in Bratislava accessing testing for the virus, and just four people sleeping on the streets of Glasgow by the end of 2020.

These actions happened in the context of increasing pressures – such as job insecurity and relationship breakdowns – forcing people into homelessness and difficulty in accessing safe spaces to isolate from the virus. One in five people sleeping on Barcelona’s streets have become homeless since March 2020 and over half of those sleeping on the streets of Brussels have not accessed any form of accommodation since the start of the lockdown.

Key figures include:

  • 220 people in Brighton were given emergency accommodation and rapid access to health and substance misuse support under the UK’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative;
  • 40 people with no recourse to public funds were accommodated by Croydon council in 2020 – representing a fourfold increase on the previous year;
  • almost 1,000 volunteers took part in two Connections Weeks – where homeless people had the opportunity to talk about their situation and their needs; and
  • one-in-three of those sleeping on the streets of Barcelona were tested for COVID-19.

World Habitat’s Homelessness Programme also delivered a range of support to campaign cities throughout 2020, including a number of small grants to drive local action through our Innovation Fund, including for a human rights abuses monitoring project in Barcelona.

Patrick Duce, Homelessness Programme Lead, said:

“Street homelessness is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and the clearest indication of a broken housing system. The importance of permanent housing solutions as a pathway away from a life on the streets has never felt more evident than in the face of COVID-19 during the last year.

“Across Europe, individuals, organisations and governments scrambled to respond to a global pandemic, against which the greatest defence was a safe place to self-isolate. As countries entered lockdowns, the need to work together to develop quick, effective and cross-sector solutions was needed more than ever before.

“At World Habitat, we are proud to work with some of the most committed and passionate housing rights advocates in the homelessness sector. This report details how – in cities across Europe – the response to a common threat was addressed in different ways in local areas.

“It has been a year of adaptation and learning, but above all else, working together. We want to thank all of our partners for their commitment, resilience, and flexibility for finding solutions to homelessness amidst the ongoing challenges of the last year. We continue to provide a space for people from across the campaign to come together with a common purpose – to end street homelessness once and for all.”

The full report is available as a free download here.

To find out more about the incredible work taking place to end street homelessness across Europe, sign up to our campaign e-bulletin.

Image: Juan Lemus

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