EU’s green building push risks driving homelessness, activists warn

(EurActiv, 18 Mar 2021) The European Commission must ensure that plans to price carbon emissions in the building sector does not lead to growing rates of homelessness, campaigners said on Wednesday (17 March).

Homelessness in the EU has already increased by 70% in the last decade and currently stands at around 700,000 with that level expected to increase as countries lift the moratorium on evictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, many people across the EU cannot afford to heat their homes properly, with 30 million Europeans in energy poverty, according to the Jacques Delors Institute, a think-tank.

Yet, both homelessness and energy poverty risk being impacted by the EU’s push to increase climate ambition, warned said Freek Spinnewijn, director of FEANTSA, the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless.

In June, the Commission will table proposals to reform the EU emissions trading scheme, which may be extended to include buildings and road transport. Later in the year, the EU executive will also table a revision of the energy performance of buildings directive, which may widen mandatory minimum performance standards to existing buildings instead of just new ones.

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EurActiv, 18 Mar 2021: EU’s green building push risks driving homelessness, activists warn