Preventing Homelessness Among Substance Users in Europe

Prior to the 1970s, neither homelessness nor drug addiction was seen as issues of major concern in Europe. At most, they were of local interest and of particular importance only in some larger metropolitan centres. Over the last three decades they have come much more into public prominence and risen up in local and national policy agendas. At the level of the European Union (EU), however, while the use and abuse of drugs has attracted substantial financial resources and institutional involvement, homelessness, in comparison, has been relatively neglected and remains predominantly the concern of non-government and voluntary organisations. At all three levels—local, national, and European—it is only in recent years that the link between homelessness and problematic substance use has come to the fore as an issue of singular concern. This paper examines the recent emergence of policies and programmes which seek to tackle and prevent homelessness among substance users. Our investigation suggests that although new initiatives at the EU level are limited, at the national and especially sub-national level, effective programmes addressing both treatment and prevention are being designed and implemented.

Publication Date: 
Journal Name: 
The Journal of Primary Prevention