The language of PIEs in mainland Europe

Finding a common language

We believe that the UK is not alone in developing new approaches in homelessness, and in using creativity in engagement. Yet differences between our languages have in the past inhibited the practitioner dialogue with other European nations over their development of services and approaches comparable to the PIE developments in the UK.

With the publication in 2018 of 'Cross-cultural dialogues on homelessness; from Pretreatment to Psychologically Informed Environments', and a (linked) Linked In page discussion, some more extended dialogue on PIEs may now be beginning with the Unites States. Having opened a discussion across the Atlantic, we will have here a few attempts to open the discussion on homelessness and mental health needs across the channel.

Yet researchers and policy makers have frequently noted the wide range of national socio-institutional and funding frameworks within which all local housing initiatives are situated. As so many programmes are named after the funding that produces them, it is hard to develop a conversation without the common terminology with which to understand each other.

The publication in late 2017 of the PIEs 2.0 framework may go some way to providing a new vocabulary of 'what works', underneath the technical language of national policy and funding. The Pizazz self assessment and service development framework also seems to offer a useful common ground for progress.

The PIElink working party (a.k.a 'Special Interest Group') on developing Housing First with PIEs and the Pizazz showed some initial promise; but is currently suspended. This discussion may need to continue under-developed for some while, before we can really share what we are learning in more practical expressions.


2016 saw the first presentation on PIEs in France (and in French) - 'L'environnement informé' -  in Paris, at the conference "Quelle hospitalité pour les personnes en rupture de liens?". (NB: The 'Quelle hospitalité" conference was convened by Claude Chevrier, of Pole Rosa Luxembourg; for more on Claude's work, see "L'acceuil" and the interview, 'A PIE in Paris?'  - ou en Francais, "Une PIE a Paris?').

Following an extensive multi-site pilot, the French state had just then committed itself to Housing First as a broad policy, although – in common with many European states, but in contrast to the US - there it is envisaged as one amongst many equally legitimate strands of social action on homelessness.


A special issue of the FEANTSA journal in 2017 was devoted to the recognition of trauma in homelessness, including one paper specifically on PIEs; and Housing First Europe has since facilitated a webinar  ('Slices of PIE' : HERE) on PIEs and Housing First.


We now have a recording of a discussion in 2022, via FEANTSA,  with a (fully international) HF cohort of HF trainers on the relevance of PIEs to HF in many parts of Europe.  (NB: This is now also available in audio; but we believe that seeing the images of those speaking makes easier the understanding of what they are saying.)


Meanwhile, Finland is often cited as the country that has led the way on HF as national policy; and has shown that Housing First can work just as well in the context of Europe’s more extensive welfare state values, and the social chapter.

Here we find 'congregated' and 'scattered site accommodation' sitting well together.  We have here a report, and the beginnings of a discussion with one of the pioneers, Y Foundation, on the underlying characteristics of successful supported housing programmes.


See also:

  • Trauma in homelessness - FEANTSA magazine special issue.
  • Miriam Castaldo on multi-disciplinary work and the application of anthropology in homelessness services in Rome
  • Strnad & Masat on the history of institutionalised exclusion and the almost punitive operation of 'staircase' models in the post-Soviet Czech republic
  • Joan Smith on the difficulties in defining homelessness with any consistency, for comparative research purposes, within differing European political and social policy contexts
  • Ger Spillane on developing a PIEs approach in their services in Cork (on the HF and PIEs in Europe page, HERE)


FEANTSA cohort discussion on PIEs and HF, November 2022 (audio only) : HERE


PIElink pages on Housing First and PIEs

Is Housing First itself a PIE approach? : HERE

Housing First and PIEs - parallel lines meet : HERE

(Balancing) principles and pragmatism in PIEs and HF : HERE

Housing First, PIEs and the Pizazz (Special Interest Group) : HERE

Housing models, Housing First and PIEs in the US and the UK : HERE

Housing First and PIEs - how do they work together? : HERE

Housing First in the US : HERE

Housing First and PIEs in Europe : HERE


Other related PIElink pages

'Recovery Housing' in the US and the UK : HERE

PIEs, 'scattered site' and 'networked' housing : HERE

Outreach, in-reach and pathways : HERE



Library items

L’ environnement informé : cinq ou six principes de base (Powerpoint presentation) HERE

(from: "Quelle hospitalité pour les personnes en rupture de liens?" This event was followed by a handful of visits, some of which are recorded and available, including

  • "The democracy of pidgin" : HERE
  • "Une conversation avec Anne-Paul Lerosier" : HERE

Conceptualiser "l'acceuil"  : HERE

"A PIE in Paris?/Une PIE à Paris?"

'A human adventure;' an address by Chevrier to the Interval 2013 symposium, HERE


FEANTSA magazine special issue: Trauma and Homelessness HERE

A Home of Your Own; housing first in Finland HERE

Housing First : from local social innovation to a new policy strategy? A comparative research in Europe : HERE SOON

Towards a multidisciplinary approach to health: considerations for a European survey HERE


Homelessness in the Czech republic HERE

Problems in understanding youth homelessness in four European societies with different levels of service provision and definitions of homelessness HERE