EU cash could help UK homeless
European Union cash could be on its way to the homeless in the UK to help pay for food and more durable goods.
The European Commission proposed a fund to help the most deprived in the EU on Wednesday with homeless people being a priority target.
If the fund goes ahead, €2.5 billion will be split between the 27 member states from January 2014 for seven years.
To secure the cash countries will have to top it up with 15 per cent of their own money. The amount each country gets will depend on a range of factors, such as size and need. Once in the country, the money would be distributed to charities to use.
Umbrella group the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) has suggested the fund should be used for ‘starter packs’ – including items such as household goods and furniture – for homeless people when they manage to secure a new home.
The group issued a statement saying: ‘If the EU focuses on long-term homeless and realistically considers the potential of moving people out of the shelter system and into housing, the starter packs (costing €200 each and representing a budget of around €40 million per year) the share that should go to homeless people on the basis of the numbers presented by the EC could help us reach and support a large part of the chronic homeless population that could be moved to independent housing.’
The EU set itself the target of reducing the number of people in or at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 20 million by 2020. In 2010, 116 million – nearly one quarter of Europeans – were at risk of poverty or social exclusion. This was about 2 million more than in the previous year.
FEANTSA is calling for a Europe-wide homelessness strategy.
The EC must make the final decision, which is expected in the new year.