Action for Inclusion in Europe is a project led by the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity (GEM) at the University of Oxford in partnership with 16 European cities. The project aims to secure tangible reforms in city practices across Europe that address the exclusion of marginal communities from services and civic life and facilitate a mutually positive sense of local belonging via action-oriented learning exchange. Three thematic areas were focused on during the project in three separate working groups: Cohesion and Belonging, Parental Engagement in Schools, and Homelessness and Destitution amongst Excluded Migrants. This report summarises the lessons learnt during the course of the project in the Homelessness and Destitution amongst Excluded Migrants working group.
In each of the working groups, senior city officials were brought together over a period of ten months to develop high-level strategic thinking on social policies, learn from research evidence and the experiences of other cities, and deliver improvements in services. Three meetings of the Homelessness and Destitution amongst Excluded Migrants working group took place in Dublin, the London Borough of Islington and Vienna, where working group participants shared good practice on the thematic areas, identified problems that required solving and potential solutions to those problems, and discussed ways of overcoming challenges in the implementation of solutions.
Each city was required to develop an action plan for securing tangible reforms, and as part of this process, consider the research evidence and consult and engage civil society actors (including existing and new NGO partners), based on the principle that policies and practice are informed by the views of local residents and civil society actors, and by research evidence around what is most effective. Each city identified the actions they wanted to take forward in light of the particular problems being faced in their city within the overall theme of the working group. The result has been five different projects addressing a range of problems in the area of migrant homelessness and destitution, with many achievements and valuable lessons to share. Each action plan presented a number of ideas and solutions to the identified problems, and these were developed, tested, and amended where necessary. Each city has documented their progress and produced a report summarising its experiences, achievements and challenges, aiming to provide a number of lessons that can facilitate change in other cities across Europe experiencing similar problems.
This paper has a similar aim and highlights the key themes and lessons learnt from across the cities in this working group. The paper focuses in particular on the considerations that cities should find useful in seeking to reform city practices in the area of migrant homelessness, along with some of the common challenges to implementation that cities should be mindful of in the process of bringing about change.