It’s been two months since Housing Europe has launched its “Housing for All” campaign calling for better EU policies for more and better homes. After evaluating the “State of Housing in the EU” in 2015, the European Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing took this initiative that serves as an invitation for cooperation at EU level between the European Union institutions, the member states, the local authorities and the housing providers with the overall aim to boost the supply of affordable homes for liveable communities.
At the same time a movement seems to start being shaped in many European countries around the universal message for access to decent and affordable housing that will give an end to the increasing social exclusion. We have identified some of the most relevant campaigns that are unfolding at the moment led by several of our member organisations.
The Homes for Wales campaign brings together those who believe everyone has a right to a decent affordable home to call their own. The campaign has been set up to ensure that housing is a key political issue in the National Assembly for Wales elections. No one can make the case for a housing crisis alone which is why we’re asking you to add your voice to the Homes for Wales campaign.
The key ask of the campaign is that the next Welsh Government publishes an ambitious plan for housing as part of the new Programme for Government that sets out how they will end the housing crisis in Wales.
Homes for Wales is a coalition led by seven organisations – Community Housing Cymru Group (a Housing Europe member), Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, Shelter Cymru, Welsh Tenants, Home Builders Federation, Residential Landlords Association, and the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Increase the housing supply, improving standards and tackling homelessness: the context of the upcoming Northern Ireland Assembly elections, on 5 May 2016, embodies a great opportunity to include housing key policies in the government programme. It is the occasion to address the issue of the current Housing crisis: shortage of new homes and homelessness among others. Several main issues are to be considered according to Housing Rights: affordability, access, responsible regulation, housing conditions.
In this context, Housing Rights, the Council for the Homeless, the Chartered Institute of Housing NI and the Northern Ireland Federation for Housing Associations (NIFHA- a Housing Europe member) organized a Housing and Homelessness Hustings on Friday 15 April in Belfast. This event was attended by eight party representatives that displayed their vision and ideas on how homelessness could be tackled. With the idea to showcase the need to deliver sustainable homes for people in Northern Ireland, four topics were addressed: how to tackle Northern Ireland’s underprovision of new homes, homelessness, the private rental sector and finally the future of the Housing Executive.
NIFHA highlights that “40,000 households in Northern Ireland are on the social housing waiting list, with 22,000 in housing stress and one in eighteen of all adults saying that they have experienced some degree of homelessness.”
100,000 Affordable Homes for London
This National Housing Federation (a Housing Europe member) campaign wants to build 100,000 affordable homes by 2020 in London with the support of the next Mayor. The idea is that the construction programme should be undertaken during the Mayor term of office, in order to address London current housing crisis. This campaign expresses the will of housing associations to work hand in hand with the next mayor of London on the housing topic.
London is in the midst of a deep housing crisis as far too many Londoners:
- have to live a long way from work, resulting in a long commute and short evenings
- live in private rented housing that is insecure and very expensive
- find it impossible to save a deposit to buy a home of their own
- live in small, poorly maintained or unsuitable housing, dragging down their quality of life.
The scarcity of genuinely affordable homes has become an obstacle to the ambitions and potential of Londoners.
With the upcoming election that will be held on Thursday 5 May 2016, the campaign is developing different means to spread the word such as a campaign toolkit, or by collecting testimonies on how the housing crisis affects London inhabitants.
The European End Street Homelessness Campaign
The European End Street Homelessness Campaign is a pan European movement of cities, working together to permanently house Europe’s most vulnerable people and end chronic street homelessness by 2020. The tools for this campaign drew inspiration by The American “100,000 Homes Campaign” that was one of the winners of the World Habitat Awards 2014.
Housing Europe member, BSHF in alliance with the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless (FEANTSA) and Community Solutions Inc., have created this European campaign to export and adapt these solutions in Europe.
The Campaign’s is based on the following Key Principles:
ensuring permanent, appropriate and affordable housing for homeless people, encouraging communities to adopt a Housing First approach, improving local systems by creating coordinated housing and support systems.
Cap HLM - A collective approach in France
The idea behind this collective initiative is to adapt social housing to the current context by making good use of emerging opportunities and addressing all kinds of challenges such as digitalisation, allocation policy, mobility problems etc.
This project, led by the Housing Europe French member, USH, will be unfolding in 3 stages and revolves around 8 different topics such as "attributions, mobility, reception", "Social housing landlords and tenants relationships" & "energetics and environmental transition".
The first phase will help to gather useful data on the state of social housing, focusing on social housing expectations within French society but also on the collection of innovative proposals and response examples from social housing organizations.
Several tools have been set up to give social housing organizations a chance to speak: workshop groups, committees as well as a collaborative platform that allows social housing employees to express their ideas and venture propositions.
Finally, the semaine nationale des HLM, taking place in late June, will highlight how social housing organisations are adapting to the current context characterized by housing crisis, very limited public financing and an important number of middle class households facing impoverishment and chronic unemployment.
The Congress in September that will take place in Nantes (77th social housing Congress), will then be the opportunity to discuss, validate and share propositions, in order to reach an agreement on solid project.
One of the key outcomes of Cap HLM will be a roadmap for the social housing movement with positive narratives and examples that will be communicate in a third stage to presidential election candidates the message that housing should be back on the priority list of the public debate.