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The goal of Cityscape is to bring high-quality original research on housing and community development issues to scholars, government officials, and practitioners. Cityscape is open to all relevant disciplines, including architecture, consumer research, demography, economics, engineering, ethnography, finance, geography, law, planning, political science, public policy, regional science, sociology, statistics, and urban studies.

Cityscape is published three times a year by the Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Double Issue: The Rental Assistance Demonstration | The Hispanic Housing Experience in the United States
  • Volume 23 Number 2
  • Managing Editor: Mark D. Shroder
  • Associate Editor: Michelle P. Matuga

The Impact of COVID-19 on Homeless Service Providers and Homeless People: The Migrant Perspective

Simona Barbu
Sergio Perez Barranco
Ruby Silk
European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless

Restrictive immigration rules, lack of access to housing and to the labor market, discrimination, or inability to access public funding contribute to exclusion of migrants in the European Union and push individuals into destitution. Migrants are often highly represented in the numbers of rough sleepers in the big cities of Europe. Recent evidence shows that asylum seekers and refugees are also overrepresented in the homelessness sector in member states across the European Union (EU). Homeless service providers are often the only possibility for migrants to access basic support and counseling on their rights and alternatives in the EU. The COVID-19 pandemic has aggravated the vulnerable living conditions of migrants across Europe and has affected the service providers working to support homeless migrants. At the same time, the pandemic proved to be an opportunity for governments and organizations to change the way they shaped policies and the manner in which they approached homelessness.

In this article, the authors investigate how the pandemic affected migrants experiencing homelessness in the EU. Further to this, we analyze the measures adopted by EU member states where members of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless are active; we identify innovative practices in supporting homeless migrants as well as challenges that should be addressed to ensure that human rights are respected for all. Based on data collected from July to September 2020, the authors formulate recommendations for improving European policies and for EU member states to implement measures to protect migrants throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring unconditional access to safe and adequate housing.

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