National strategies to fight homelessness and housing exclusion [Czech Republic] (ESPN)



Year of publication 2019
Description The Czech definition of homelessness and housing exclusion (HHE) is formulated as ‘homelessness and risk of losing home’. Nevertheless, it includes all the categories specified by the ETHOS Light definition of HHE. This does not mean that data are available for all those categories. The system of monitoring HHE still has serious gaps. Information on HHE is based on data regarding the emergency services provided to the homeless, ad hoc surveys by big municipalities and the census. Although it is not possible to cover the period of the last 10 years systematically, on the basis of the above-listed sources available the indications are that HHE has increased. The last estimate by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MLSA) (2016) is that there are 68,500 homeless and about 119,000 people at risk of homelessness in the country (which has a population of above 10 million). According to Government Resolution No. 666 of 28 August 2013, the Czech Republic adopted a strategy to address HHE – the Concept of Preventing and Tackling Homelessness Issues in the Czech Republic until 2020. The concept builds on a complex and coordinated approach, with an emphasis on both housing-focused intensive support, including Housing First, and non-housing-focused support, including the prevention of homelessness. The strategy has not succeeded in bringing about a policy shift from the current fragmented and ineffective system, which mainly provides emergency services with limited scope. There has been no adoption of such measures as an act on social housing, and no implementation of instruments that would enable the transition from homelessness to housing and that would reinforce the coordinating role of municipalities in this area. One reason is the inadequate financing of the strategy. On the other hand, EU funding has played an important role in providing some capacity of social housing, developing methods of social work with the homeless, piloting Housing First projects and other innovative measures. Currently, the main package of emergency, preventive and other measures is provided under the Act on Social Services (Housing First is not included). At the central level, different ministries are responsible for the regulation and financing of housing policy, and for the regulation and financing of social services and social work. At the regional level, regional offices are responsible for elaborating the medium-term plan of development of social services in the region, in cooperation with municipalities. At the local level, municipalities are responsible for ensuring conditions for the development of social services and for meeting the needs of citizens – in particular, the need for housing, health protection, etc. Although there is no systematic evidence about the effectiveness of the measures in preventing homelessness, finding ways out of homelessness and meeting the needs of the homeless in a flexible fashion, the existing indications are that the measures are too weak to be able to counterbalance the strong mechanisms/causes leading to homelessness. The key recommendations for closing the policy gaps are as follows: adopting an act on social housing and establishing corresponding financial instruments; defining the role of municipalities in meeting citizens’ needs for housing, while providing them with adequate support in the form of appropriate financial instruments; implementing the Housing First/Rapid Re-Housing instrument; increasing legislative protection against eviction, while strengthening social work with debtors; and developing a healthcare service system for the homeless that combines street medicine, ambulatory healthcare, shelter-based and follow-up care, and prevention.

You are running an old browser version. We recommend updating your browser to its latest version.