How to end homelessness in Central and Eastern Europe?


On September 18th, 2023, World Habitat organized a launch event to unveil the findings of a feasibility study titled, 'Ending Homelessness in Central and Eastern Europe: Making the shift to a housing-led system.' The study, carried out in collaboration of the Budapest Institute and the Metropolitan Research Institute, provides insights into the region's homelessness crisis.

Balázs Váradi of the Budapest Institute and Nóra Teller from the Metropolitan Research Institute presented key findings during the launch event. The comparative report, in addition to shedding light on the current state of homelessness in the region, also offers a set of recommendations aimed at various stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local and national policymakers, as well as funders.

One of the central conclusions drawn from the study is that the fastest way to end homelessness is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Consequently, an integral component of any effective strategy for scaling up housing-led approaches to tackle homelessness is the establishment of well-integrated prevention services. Such services are most effective when different sectors collaborate closely to address the issue holistically.

In Central and Eastern Europe, however, individuals experiencing homelessness face formidable barriers when trying to access crucial health, social, and employment services. The region's homelessness services often operate in isolation, detached from a broader system with the capacity to genuinely prevent new cases of homelessness. This disconnect poses a significant challenge to efforts aimed at eradicating homelessness in the region.

Besides presenting the study results, the event featured insights from four practitioners, one from each country covered by the study: Croatia, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. These experts shared their experiences with housing-led solutions. The presenters were as follows:

Jana Milin Herceg and Helena Babić - Croatian Network for the Homeless

Ian Tilling – Casa Ioana

Alena Vachnová – Nadácia DEDO

Bálint Misetics – Municipality of Budapest

The comparative report, executive summary, and four policy briefings, each tailored to a specific country involved in the study, are available for download: