Housing and Work for the Homeless is an integrated intervention for persons and families facing homelessness and housing exclusion which provides housing, services, and financial support to vulnerable groups.
UNIFYING HOMELESSNESS ACTION AND PREVENTION
The Housing and Work for the Homeless programme forms the first public housing-led policy in Greece, bypassing traditional models and instead aiming to rehouse persons experiencing homelessness or act preventively to support households threatened by homelessness. It unifies housing, social support, and labour services under one umbrella, limiting the fragmentation of services and creating a safer environment for beneficiaries.
COMBINING FINANCIAL AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Initially piloted in 2014, the programme is implemented every two years by municipalities in cooperation with certified NGOs, providing support to 600 households. Forms of support include a rent subsidy for a period of 24 months, allowances for additional housing costs (household supplied/bills), a work subsidy (full minimum wage) for a period of 12 months, a subsidy for non-wage costs for a period of 12 months, training and skill-building, and counselling and social support. The programme also provides a link to complementary social services and allowances (especially the Guaranteed Minimum Income and Housing Benefit). The Housing Benefit aims to provide a safe housing framework over a four-year period, with the allowance amount deescalated gradually.
PRIORITISING SAFE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
The programme is a significant departure from traditional homelessness policies in Greece, which often focus on managing rather than solving the problem. It prioritises providing safe and affordable housing to vulnerable groups, including women experiencing domestic violence, LGBTQI+ individuals, refugees and migrants, people leaving institutions (prisons, rehabilitation centres, and shelters for minors), the elderly, and single-parent families. It also helps social services and NGOs develop expertise and fosters collaboration among local organisations, landlords, and employers. With the third phase of the project already underway, results from the second phase of the programme show that at least 85% of the households that have exited the programme so far have remained in their home, receiving the Housing Benefit. Owing to its success, the programme has been a permanent public state policy since 2020.