The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said on Tuesday that ending homelessness in Portugal is feasible within a “reasonable time.” Marcelo said that homelessness represents a “failure” of society and a “social wound” at the end of the National Strategy for the Integration of People Facing Homelessness (ENIPSSA) meeting.

“It is not the only one, there are other failures. Poverty, in general, is a failure of society,” said the president, arguing that Portugal has the conditions to eradicate homelessness.

Marcelo also highlighted that Portuguese society is facing a “new situation” of crisis that is “not as critical as the worst part of the pandemic, but that is more complex.”

“We know that the issue now is the consequences of war, added to the consequences of the pandemic, that last longer than we think, such as in mental health. And, therefore, there is a higher risk of poverty and higher risk of homelessness cases”, said the President of the Republic.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa highlighted the priorities that were denied at the ENIPSSA meeting. He said that the most important goal in “concrete terms is housing.”

“Housing was less complex in 2016, 2017, and 2018 than it has been since 2019, where the tourism prices” have increased property values, making the “access to housing more difficult.”

The President of the Republic said that the country must also “go further regarding health, employability, whenever possible, and much further in civic participation, ie further in prevention.

Calling it a “national priority,” Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa believes “we must be more responsible, and for this reason, more passionate about this cause.”

Are there homeless people in Portugal?

Currently, there are 9,000 people facing homelessness in Portugal, 800 more than in 2020. Most of them access temporary shelters, but 4,000 of these have no shelter whatsoever.

According to the European Commission, homelessness levels have risen in most parts of Europe during the last decade.