In recent years, the European Union has taken significant steps towards closer cooperation in the field of social protection and inclusion, recognising the contribution that social policy can make to economic performance. Greater cohesion has been promoted through the open method of coordination (OMC), a process based on the adoption of common objectives, reconfigured governance networks and policy learning and transfer. Homelessness is part of this agenda. This paper offers an assessment of the OMC hypothesis with respect to measuring homelessness. It demonstrates that the OMC process has had some success in promoting closer collaboration but that substantial differences remain between states in their approaches and methods to homelessness data collection. It concludes by arguing that the current approach to homelessness within Europe is unlikely to achieve the goal of developing integrated responses to prevent and address homelessness without significant additional direction and action at both European and national levels.
Keywords: homelessness, European Union, EU, open method of coordination, OMC, policy learning