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European Union failing to adequately address homelessness crisis - Bairbre de Brún

11 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning called upon the European Union to join with national parliaments and local authorities in a major push to tackle the homeless crisis.

Ms de Brún made her comments before chairing a European conference organized by the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA).

Speaking from the European Parliament Ms de Brún said:

"Approximately three million people are homeless in the EU - these are the cold statistics. These issues can be addressed both at EU and at local and national levels - but only if the will exists to deal with this crisis

"While the EU remains fixated with other priorities, thousands of people across the EU will be sleeping rough, will be victims of unprovoked violent attacks, will find themselves in temporary shelters, will be isolated from the mainstream of policy-making, and many will be caught in a cycle of homelessness and will experience mental health related problems.

"Today's conference on homelessness at the European Parliament should act as a wake up call to the EU and its agencies and to national governments and local authorities. The focus of the conference will be on implementation of homeless strategies, and on providing local authorities with practical toolkits for developing appropriate strategies. The FEANTSA conference also aims to facilitate European or "transnational" exchanges to help local authorities strengthen local strategies based on lessons learnt from other countries." ENDS

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