EWL News

New factsheet on women and homelessness in the EU, by FEANTSA and the EWL

[Brussels, 20 June 2016] The European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless, FEANTSA, and the European Women’s Lobby, EWL, have issued a factsheet on women and homelessness to give visibility to the gender specific needs and the significant overlap between women’s homelessness and violence against women in the EU.

Find the factsheet here.

image factsheet

The European Parliament has recently launched a written declaration calling for a renewed focus on reducing homelessness across the EU through a specific EU action plan. This presents you with an opportunity to ensure that the needs of vulnerable women experiencing homelessness are incorporated into EU policy making. The European Women’s Lobby has invited all Members of the European Parliament to sign and support this declaration.

Homelessness affects women in a very different way to men, giving rise to gender specific needs which have generally been ignored by policy makers. Women engage in coping strategies to avoid becoming visibly homeless, rather than presenting to shelters or sleep rough on the street they will generally sleep in parks, train stations, sofa-surf or end up in prostitution as a means of avoiding sleeping rough. Women’s homelessness is thus a “hidden” form of homelessness, and is often forgotten or even ignored.

There is a significant overlap between women’s homelessness and violence against women. Domestic violence is a common cause of women becoming homeless. While homelessness women are at increased risk of being raped, beaten, attacked, chocked, strangled, exploited in prostitution and forced to join street gangs.

Unsurprisingly this is an extremely traumatic experience, and homeless women possess very complex and gender specific needs. To date women’s homelessness has not been given enough attention by policy makers. By signing this declaration today, the Members of the European Parliament will be playing their part in protecting and vindicating the rights of vulnerable women, experiencing or at risk of homelessness across the EU.

No woman in 21st Century Europe should be forced into a situation of homelessness and be exposed to gender based violence. Ending homelessness is a realistic and achievable policy goal but will require action and a commitment from EU policy makers.

  • Access the text of the Written declaration on an EU Homelessness Strategy here.
  • Access the signature forms for MEPs to sign here.

For further information find here FEANTSA statement on Homelessness and Violence against Women: Addressing the Link and Responding Effectively.

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