- 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
Sergio Perez Barranco
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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