4.6 Access to quality services
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The public promoters, such as the municipalities, the Housing Fund (Fonds du Logement) or the National Society for Low-Cost/Affordable Housing (Société Nationale des Habitations à Bon Marché), are responsible for the sale and rental of affordable housing.
The Housing Fund provides social housing to NGOs for them to accommodate homeless people, under the condition that each NGO provide regular monitoring of the residents.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region fund projects such as the Social Accommodation Agency (Agence Immobilière Sociale) and the Non-Profit Housing Help (Wunnéngshëllef asbl).
Municipalities play an important role on the local level. According to article 26 of the 2006 Law on rental contracts, the municipalities have to ensure - as far as possible - housing to all persons who legally reside in the territory of the municipality. The public promoters must prevent 'ghettoisation' by encouraging a social mix in housing projects.
The 2021 law on the housing pact ('housing pact 2.0') was adopted in 2021 (a revision of the 2008 law). The housing pact is a partnership programme between the state and the municipalities that aims to support municipalities in the development of affordable housing and residential quality.
Several associations and organisations also provide housing structures for minors and young people in need. The funding is ensured by agreements with the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, and with the Ministry of Health:
- The Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region funds:
- 2 overnight emergency hostels (Centre Ulysse, Foyer de nuit Abrisud); accomodated 54 people (18-30 years old) in 2020 (MFI, 2021)
- Accommodation structures for adults (e.g. CNDS-Wunnen, Service LEA, Wunnéngshëllef, Ennerdaach asbl, AIS, Co-labor, LSE-Adultes) (housing 2638 children and young people up to the age of 30 in 2020) (MFI, 2021)
- Special accommodation for young adults (housing 96 people in 2020) (MFI, 2021)
- The Ministry of Health subsidises further lodgings that particularly address young people (Les Niches housed 67 adults and 18 children in 2020; Immo-Stëmm housed 31 persons in 2020) (MS, 2021).
The National Agency for Children (ONE; Office national de l’enfance) provides accommodation for young people in distress. Along with educational support, these accommodation offers (SLEMO, Accueil en formule de logement encadré) are designed for young people between 16 and 27 years of age.
As a consequence of young people's increasing demand for access to affordable accommodation, the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, together with the Ministry of Housing, has inaugurated several specific youth housing units ('Jugendwunnen') on the local level for young people between 18 and 30 years of age.
The offer is geared towards young people who are not able to gain access to affordable housing. Most of the housing units are planned together with the municipalities. The housing units are rather small (10 to 20 residents). There is no educational support on-site, but residents can – according to their specific needs – receive support and guidance from educators.
The Luxembourgish government has endorsed the national strategy against homelessness and housing exclusion for the years 2013–2020. Two action fields in this policy specifically address homelessness of children and young people:
Action field 2 of this strategy aims at preventing young people's homelessness: Assistance to young people in distress and homelessness of young people.
That includes the provision of overnight emergency hostels with support adapted to the needs of minors on the street
Action field 3 addresses homeless young people between the ages of 18 and 30 years in Luxembourgish municipalities: Pilot projects in the municipalities for young homeless people.
Young people living in special housing accommodations require a minimum of accompaniment designed to stabilise these individuals on the psychological, social and relational level.
Some municipalities have already established this kind of sheltered living arrangement. Six municipalities currently provide special housing accomodations for young people; other municipalities should follow the lead. A network of projects on the local level will be set up in order to create synergies between the different projects.
The National Agency for Children (ONE; Office national de l’enfance) is an administration placed under the authority of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth; it was created by the 2008 law on the child and family aid.
The ONE is the national contact point providing information on all available support measures and assistance to children and young people in need (difficulties with regard to their physical, mental, psychological and social development, or situations of physical or mental danger, social exclusion, etc.).
The child, young person and/or a family member may apply for help directly at the Agency. In coordination with childcare providers, the ONE offers assistance suited to the psycho-social distress of children, youth and their families. This assistance is financed by the ONE. A central task of the agency is the organisation of foster care placement of children and young people.
The ONE's primary concern is that the child or the young person should remain in their home environment. Institutional or foster care placement should remain an exception.
The ONE provides many offers and measures (defined in the 2011 grand-ducal regulations) (règlements grand-ducaux du 17 août 2011 concernant l'agrément à accorder aux gestionnaires d'activités pour enfants, jeunes adultes et familles en détresse). These can range from assistance at the appropriate facilities or in the family, by day and/or night, to outpatient support (psychological, social or educational support).
Another contact point for support to people in need, on the local or regional level, is the Social Welfare Office (Office Social). It is designed for all people in need and -but not exclusively- for children and youth.
The Social Welfare Office collaborates with individuals, authorities and other agencies working with persons who find themselves in a difficult situation. Its objective is to coordinate actions to prevent and fight against poverty and social exclusion.
This assistance is based on professional support at short, medium or long term, and on the right to material aid in kind or in cash. The social welfare office, as mandated by the 2009 law organising social welfare service (loi du 18 décembre 2009 organisant l'aide sociale), is of palliative, curative, or preventative nature. It is an additional measure to the aid authorised by other laws and regulations.
An individual can only apply for this support after all other means have been exhausted. The main goal is to help people who have been marginalised by society, enabling them to reach a decent situation. To those who qualify for this assistance, all means are made available, so that the precarious situations will be identified, remedied and prevented to deteriorate.
Besides the Social Welfare Offices, youth centres with their youth workers provide another important social service on the local level. Youth work focuses on young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion with the aim of ensuring that all young people have access to the opportunities and resources necessary for their full participation in economic, social and cultural life. The youth centres offer various initiatives and projects focused on disadvantaged young people.
The Luxembourgish health system is characterised by solidarity and generosity, as well as a low out-of-pocket participation of the individual person. The scheme is nearly universal (97.9 %) and covered by the compulsory public health and care insurance. The health system guarantees free choice and equal access to primary care providers and to medical specialists.
The Third party payer system mandated by the 2010 law on reforming the care and health system (règlement grand-ducal du 17 décembre 2010 déterminant en application de l'article 5 de la loi du 17 décembre 2010 portant réforme du système de soins de santé les réductions à opérer aux tarifs médicaux et modifiant le règlement grand-ducal modifié du 21 décembre 1998 arrêtant la nomenclature des actes et services des médecins pris en charge par l'assurance maladie) is aimed at persons declared by the Social Welfare Office to be in a precarious situation. The scheme gives people who live in a state of material deprivation, or who are at risk of poverty, the possibility to visit a general practitioner, a specialist or a dentist without having to pay. If necessary, the Social Welfare Office will directly pay for expenses such as medication costs, hospital fees, etc.
Children and young people in Luxembourg are covered by the compulsory public health and care insurance of their parents or legal guardians.
Young people are entitled to financial benefits depending on their individual situation and/or the situation of their household. Most of these benefits address not only young people between the ages of 13 and 30 years, but also families with children younger than 13 years.
The following financial services include the most important provisions for young people in poverty or at risk of poverty:
Income of social inclusion (REVIS; revenu d’inclusion sociale)
The income of social inclusion (REVIS) was introduced by the 2018 law on the income of social inclusion. It has replaced the former guaranteed minimum income (RMG). The REVIS aims at fostering social inclusion, by establishing a coherent system between policies of stabilisation, social activation and reintegration into employment. It aims at reducing poverty especially of children and single-parent families.
According to this law, in certain circumstances, households living on resources below a certain threshold receive financial aid from the state.
The beneficiaries are persons of at least 25 years of age, who have exhausted all other options provided by Luxembourgish and foreign laws (employment, social security, food allowance, etc.) to improve their situation.
Individuals under 25 years of age can receive financial aid, provided they fulfil at least one of the four following exceptions:
- The person cares for a child or children
- The person is pregnant
- The person is unable to make a living
- The person is of legal age and cares for a sick or handicapped person
Welfare aid (aide sociale)
Every person living in Luxembourg is eligible for welfare aid in order to live in human dignity. The conditions and procedures for obtaining welfare aid are established by the 2009 law on welfare service. Welfare aid is granted by the Social Office on the local level (see: Social Services).
Financial aid is available for students from low income families (Subvention pour ménage à faible revenu).
Secondary school pupils from low income households can apply for flat-rate vouchers to buy school supplies and for an annual subsidy. Granting depends on the number of parents, household income and the number of children in the household.
Costs of living allowance (allocation de vie chère)
The National Solidarity Fund (Fonds national de solidarité) grants costs of living allowance to support low income households. The amount depends on the composition of the household and on its revenue.
Further provisions do not exclusively address young people in poverty or at risk of poverty. However they are worth mentioning, since they make an important contribution to the social balance:
Family allowances (allocations familiales)
Family allowances are always paid to families with children up to the age of 18. They are paid up to the age of 27 for children who are still studying, while no age limit applies for children with a physical or mental handicap. The amount is based on the number of children, so that the family allowance provides financial support especially to households with many children.
Student allowance (aide financière pour études supérieures)
Students in post-secondary education are entitled to financial support, so that every student can enrol in post-secondary education regardless of their parents' financial background. Allowance is composed of a grant (50%) and a bank loan (50%). Weighting between grant and bank loan depends on the student's revenue. Students enrolled in secondary education abroad and doing their VET are also entitled to a student allowance.
Social minimum wage (salaire social minimum)
The social minimum wage guarantees that no salary may be under a certain amount. However, there are restrictions for minors:
- Young people aged 15 to 17 years are entitled to a share of 75% of the social minimum wage
- People aged 17 to 18 years are entitled to a share of 80%.
Despite these restrictions, the minimum wage is an important factor preventing social exclusion and discrimination of specific groups.
The social minimum wage and salaries are adjusted in line with the evolution of the cost of living. When the consumer price index increases or decreases by 2.5% during the previous semester, the social minimum wage and salaries are normally adjusted by the same proportion.
There is no specific quality assurance in place beyond the general quality assurance of the public administration, which is ensured by the procedures defined by the government.