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ATD Fourth World calls for a Europe closer to vulnerable families

On the 15th of May, International Day of Families, ATD Fourth World, representing people experiencing poverty in more than 30 countries worldwide, issued its Recommendations ‘Towards a Europe that Leaves No One Behind!’.

This comes as a follow-up of the ATD Fourth World people’s university held in February, with the active contribution of COFACE Families Europe, in particular on the workshop on family policies, which focused on the main challenges that poor families are experiencing in Europe. The workshop highlighted that poorest families are stigmatised and isolated. Due to the current European housing crisis most of their income is spent in house-related expenses, while social housing is limited and temporary. The way income support is designed does not always help families get out of their difficult situation and save money for the future, but just to survive, in a constant fear of having their children put into placement.

According to ATD Recommendations, the right to family life is often restricted and even denied for people living in poverty. Every policy should respect and promote family ties and solidarity between family members. However, various current policies impact the poorest families in a rather negative way, and do not allow them to escape their precarious situation.

Here the Recommendations of ATD Fourth World on Family Policies:

  • A framework directive that establishes a decent guaranteed minimum income in all Member States, to ensure every citizen has reasonable means of existence;
  • Promotion of the principle of individualisation of rights to social benefits, so solidarity between family members is not penalised and sharing resources is stimulated;
  • Allowing people in need to have a secure amount of capital and savings;
  • Support Member States to put access to decent housing for people and families in vulnerable situations into practice, through the proper supply of social housing and other housing support;
  • Promote social coherence between its Member States, in particular by requesting them to ratify the revised European Social Charter, including articles 30 and 31 on the right to protection against poverty and social exclusion and on the right to housing, as well as the Collective Complaints Procedure;
  • Strengthen the Youth Guarantee, especially for the most disadvantaged young people;
  • a Child Guarantee that includes the principle of support for families, investments in parents’ abilities, and the safeguarding of family ties;
  • Recognise the practice of discrimination based on socio-economic grounds, and to outlaw it.

You can find the full document here.

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