Homelessness and affordable housing should be one of the upcoming elections’ priorities, says Caritas.  Photo: Shutterstock

Homelessness and affordable housing should be one of the upcoming elections’ priorities, says Caritas.  Photo: Shutterstock

National non-profit organisation Caritas Luxembourg on 30 June published a list of social issues that it wants to see politicians incorporate in their campaigns for the June 2023 elections.

Using the testimonies and experience of volunteers who are in contact with those most vulnerable and forgotten by society, Caritas put the finger on various issues with accompanying solutions. The NGO also asks for more survey mechanisms and a better understanding of how social issues come to exist in the first place.

“Since they are based on experience on the ground, many of the measures we propose in the paper are very pragmatic, very targeted and can be implemented in a fairly reasonable timeframe, to provide rapid relief to people in distress who--we must not forget--are suffering now and need to have an answer now,” president of the organisation Marie-Josée Jacobs says in the report.

Poverty, homelessness and affordable housing to tackle

Among the nine demands Caritas highlights is poverty in the grand duchy. A Eurostat study at the end of 2021 confirmed that is at risk of poverty. Caritas cites the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis as accelerators of the gap between rich and poor, and underlines that young people in particular are at risk. For example, 30.7% of those aged 18-24 and 23.1% of those aged 0-17 face precarious living conditions. Politicians should look into a “true tax reform” that places social justice, the common good and economic resilience in its centre, Caritas says.

The NGO also calls for an indexation of all benefits and an upward revision of the eligibility scale for benefits, as the latter have not evolved alongside the increase in the cost of living.

Homelessness too should be on the agenda of politicians, according to Caritas. Better access to healthcare, housing for the poor and socially excluded, and contact with the homeless should accompany more flexible and realistic prevention strategies.

Aligned with this, Caritas addresses the topic of housing--. While acknowledging the current government’s efforts to implement more social housing, the non-profit says they are too slow and too few. The government should focus on supporting associations that want to be social landlords, as well as keeping an eye on rent prices. For Caritas, speculation should also be prohibited.

A network of issues and solutions

Among the other demands the NGO outlines are childhood poverty prevention, better international cooperation, improved welcoming and sheltering of refugees, more socially fair climate politics and closing the digitalisation gap.

For many of these issues, a better understanding of the origins of the problem, as well as a closer interaction with the socially excluded is offered as a solution. Politicians should also look into implementing stronger and more efficient frameworks and mechanisms to close the gap between fortunate and excluded populations, Caritas says.