Europe rushed to house the homeless as coronavirus hit. Advocates worry the changes won’t last.
In a few days, 15,000 people were set up in empty hotels and private lodgings as streets and shelters were cleared, under a national directive implemented locally. Amid orders to stay home, similar efforts had differing degrees of success across Europe, where homelessness has increased 70 percent over the past decade, despite the continent’s robust welfare systems.
“The coronavirus has showed that if there is enough political will and urgency, you can end homelessness in a couple of weeks,” said Freek Spinnewijn, director of the European Federation of National Organizations Working With the Homeless, or FEANTSA.
Even amid the pain the virus has wrought, it has opened a rare opportunity to reshape homelessness policies, advocates in Europe told The Washington Post. With no end to the pandemic in sight, many experts say the homeless need ongoing help finding long-term accommodations, rather than one-off meals and temporary rooms.
Whether some of the new measures stick remains to be seen.
[Source: Washington Post]