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This edition of FEANTSA’s European Observatory on Homelessness Comparative Research Series concerns the important issue of data collection. Policymakers frequently justify the lack of progress in tackling homelessness on the absence of reliable data. Even if this argument is often false, it is clear that policies and practices informed by accurate data tend to be more effective.

The lack of data at a European level is an obstacle to gaining recognition for the fight against homelessness as a necessary European Union (EU) priority. This report aims to help address this gap.

It is important to know how many people experience homelessness, and how that number evolves over time. But what is maybe even more relevant for policymaking is information about the changing profile of the homeless population. This report provides information on both.

The European Observatory on Homelessness has looked in detail at the available recent data on homelessness from the majority of EU Member States. We were pleasantly surprised to find that sufficient data exist in most countries to allow identification of major trends in the scope and nature of homelessness.

The last statistical update produced by the European Observatory on Homelessness dates back to 2009. The present report is well timed to capture some of the most recent trends. We are optimistic that it can be the start of a 5-year reporting cycle to provide regular updates on the latest numbers related to homelessness.