Affordable and adequate housing is an essential part of quality of life.
Millions of people across Europe live in poor housing conditions or do not
have any shelter at all. The Council of Europe promotes access to housing for
all people in Europe, and in particular to the most vulnerable people in
The programme on Access to Housing was started as a new field of work for the
Council in 1999, realising the significance of adequate housing for the
citizens to be able to have an adequate standard of living and to participate
in societal activities. A comprehensive programme started, with the main
purpose to provide access to housing for vulnerable groups.
In November 2004, the Council of Europe set up a group of specialists on
housing policy for social cohesion
(CS-HO) whose aim was to recommend appropriate measures in some critical
areas of housing policies, in order to enable vulnerable groups to access and
to live in adequate housing.
The purpose of the CS-HO work was to formulate concrete measures and policies
within the areas of supply of housing, financing and housing allowances in
order to enable vulnerable groups to have access to housing and enjoy the
security of tenure.
Marginalisation and exclusion of groups due to e.g. poverty, racism and
xenophobia are obstacles to social cohesion. Consequently the CS-HO group was
instructed to recommend housing policy measures which may contribute to