The acting Minister of Health, Consumption and Welfare, María Luisa Carcedo, has closed the conference 'Housing First to end homelessness in Europe', organized by the RAIS Foundation.

The National Comprehensive Strategy for the Homeless was elaborated in 2015. "The Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare is carrying out an intermediate evaluation to redesign what is necessary", explained the minister, who has announced that the results will be ready " by the end of the year".

The Strategy has 5 objectives related to: the prevention of homelessness or the awareness of society and defense against discrimination and hate crimes aimed at the homeless.

The remaining three refer to guaranteeing life safety for the homeless; restore the life project, which must be present throughout the process of social intervention; and strengthen the public system of attention to the homeless and improve knowledge, exchange of information and evaluation.

The Finnish model

Carcedo recalled that while in the vast majority of European countries homelessness is growing, Finland has managed to reduce residential exclusion to practically anecdotal values. The strategies used to achieve this have been to create a sufficient supply of social housing and apply the Housing First methodology.

Spain adheres to the European project Housing First Europe Hub, an informal network involving public and private entities, from various European countries, whose objective is to promote the implementation and development of Housing First in Europe as a means of intervention in the field of homelessness.

The minister stressed that the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare carried out several programs in 2018 related to the Housing First methodology. Among others, interterritorial and transnational technical cooperation for its development in Spain was fostered.

Interministerial coordination

On the other hand, the minister has insisted on the effort made by the Government to improve coordination between the ministries responsible for housing and social policy. An example is the Royal Decree-Law 7/2019, of urgent measures in the matter of housing and rent, validated last April 3 in the Congress. It incorporates a modification in eviction procedures, by which the participation of Social Services in these processes is mandatory.

In particular, the obligation to communicate to the social services the existence of the eviction procedure is introduced. In the event that they confirm that the affected household is in a situation of social and / or economic vulnerability, the one-month suspension of the eviction is established until the measures deemed appropriate by the Social Services are adopted.

In this way "compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the recommendation of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations," the minister has insisted.

Finally, Carcedo has highlighted the recently approved National Strategy for the Prevention and Fight against Poverty and Social Exclusion, particularly the infantile one. One of its main objectives is that people can face the cost of housing without it conditioning their lives and satisfying their most basic needs. "We can not ignore that the main challenge in this matter is the lack of affordable housing in large European cities," he stressed.



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