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European Meeting for the Right to Housing
September 25- 26, 2000

As the Right to housing for the most vulnerable populations is non existent, so is the possibility for all to live in a decent and healthy environment (notably for the poor, unemployed, immigrants, youth, elderly, singles and single parents, large families, disabled, minorities, etc.). Europe has 60 million people living in poverty, between 15 and 18 million people are poorly housed or living in slums, 3 millions are homeless and hundreds of millions of evictions take place every year while millions of houses are vacant. Meanwhile, the budgets for housing are steadily decreasing.

The governments of European countries have accelerated the deregulation of markets and abandoned their policies to protect tenants and low income populations: 
· The tenants are subjected to the law of market (which means deregulation of rents, loss of housing tenure) 
· Lower class residents are being expelled from the cities centers and from the renovation areas.
· Reinforced racial and social discrimination fuel the formation of urban ghettos, the rebirth of  shanty towns and the maintenance of slums.
· The NGOs without adequate means (both financial and human) are being handed over the management of the housing crisis.

These policies contradict : 
The legal obligations contracted by the European states, which have all signed the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Declarations and commitments of the European Parliament regarding the right to housing and the building of a Social Europe.

It is time for residents to speak up and claim the right to live decently in all the city neighbourhoods.

Asssociations call for international mobilization to urge the European Ministers of Housing to create new policies, at the national and european level, and to build a social Europe.

The European Meeting for the Right to Housing, which has taken place in Paris while the European Ministers of housing held their summit, was organized in the frame of the grassroot urban strategies, as a follow up of Local Heroes 21 (Berlin,July 3-6, 2000) and in preparation of the World Assembly of Residents (Mexico, October 2-6, 2000).

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