The Department
Social Cohesion Development
Social Security
Access to Social Rights
Social Policy for Families and Children

Access to...

Social protection
Social Services


Joint cooperation programmes
Dissemination activities
Publications on access to social rights and other issues
Series Trends in social cohesion
Access to Social Rights


Access to Housing

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 society.

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 social cohesion.

Related documents
Guidelines on supply of housing, financing and housing allowance (CS-HO)
Final activity report of the Group of Specialists on access to housing (CS-LO)
Report on access to housing for disadvantaged categories of persons by I. Tosics, S. Erdosi Jr and S. Mandic
Selected examples of national housing policy approaches and policy measures of Council of Europe member and observer states