The permanent representation of Housing Europe (then CECODHAS) in Brussels in form of a small team started its work in 2000. Our policy work has been since the creation of the secretariat supported by the advocacy work and expertise of our members with a permanent office in Brussels, in particular USH and GdW.
Step by step HE developed strong alliances and partnerships. We joined as Members various organisations whose objectives were in line with the interest of our members and could defend them at a macro political level: the Social Platform, Cooperatives Europe, International Cooperative Alliance, Finance Watch, the Coalition for Energy Saving, SDG Watch Europe . Further to that we developed partnerships with international organisations such as UNECE and Habitat for Humanity. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Cooperative Housing International of the International Cooperative Alliance to strengthen the representation of the cooperative sector at every level of our work.
Thanks to those alliances and partnerships as well as an efficient cooperation with our members, we could claim some relevant achievements over the last decade:
2000: recognition of the right to housing assistance in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights and recognition of housing policy as one of the important tools to achieve a more social europe (European Social Agenda)
2005: European Commission decision on state aid for SGEI exempt from notification the support given to social housing companies as part of their public service mission
2006: housing is excluded from the scope of the Services Directive
2006: thanks to the lobbying of Housing Europe members, reduced VAT rates for construction and renovation of housing within the framework of social policy are prolonged
2009: following the European economy recovery plan, housing is made eligible for the European Structural Funds (for a maximum of 4% of total ERDF spending per Member State). From 2009 to 2014 about 2 billion € are spent in housing-related projects
- 2012 and 2018: The Energy Efficiency Directive and its revised version provide for a favour legislative environment recognising technical feasibility and cost efficiency as key criteria for the implement of energy efficiency measures
- 2014: housing is eligible to the European Structural and Investment Funds without maximum ceiling per Member State. Between 2014 and 2020 about 6 billion € will be spent in new construction and renovation of existing buildings
- 2015: housing projects are supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (“Juncker Fund”). In 2018 more than 2 billion € are investment in social housing via the Juncker Fund
- 2016: the public procurement directives allow for cooperation between social housing company (mutualisation of resources)
- 2017: the European Pillar of Social Rights states that “access to social housing and housing assistance of good quality shall be provided for those in needs”
- 2017: the opportunity to use ERDF support to build long-term infrastructure for refugees was opened by the Commission and made it possible to combine the funds with AMIF support
- 2018: The Energy performance of building directive provides for the decarbonisation of the building stock while recognising the need for balance approach between energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as the need for adequate skills and finance.