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 Full text 
Verbatim report of proceedings
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Monday, 13 January 2020 - Strasbourg Revised edition

“Housing First” as urgent action to address the situation of homeless people in Europe (debate)

  John Howarth (S&D). – Mr President, you will have to bear with me; I have a throat infection so I have to speak quietly and slowly. While there are issues at present between the cities of London and Brussels of which we shall not speak here, they are both among the richest regions of the European Union, yet in Westminster Underground and in Place du Luxembourg, parliamentarians step over homeless human beings. We should be ashamed of that – because this is a massive failure of public policy. It is not about migration; it is about a failure to invest in homes.

I represent one of the richest regions in the European Union – South-East England – and I would say to anyone in that region who thinks it could never happen to them: it can. If it happened to you, or your son, or your daughter, or your grandchild, or your parent, how would you wish them tret? As a criminal? As a vagrant? As an addict? In modern developed societies, the right to a roof above your head should be a right of every citizen, yet homelessness is everywhere. Putting it right starts with the right attitude, and here I want to praise Brighton and Hove Council and their adoption of a homelessness bill of rights, and it ends with the recognition that social cleansing of our cities is immoral and that when you don’t build homes, you get homelessness.

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