On 15 November 2018, our new Ad-hoc Working Group on Housing systems in transition came together for the third time on the premises of the Habitat for Humanity Office in Bratislava. The Working Group is supporting Housing Europe Members, Partners but also organizations from other countries who have expressed an interest in addressing urgent housing needs on the ground. The Group brings together organisations mainly from Eastern and Southern Europe that need more support on developing housing policies.
The meeting was opened by Torre Nelson, Area Vice President, Habitat for Humanity Europe, Middle East and Africa. Mr Nelson presented Habitat for Humanity International that seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action worldwide. He highlighted the importance of working closely together with Housing Europe, especially that Habitat became officially partner of Housing Europe in June 2017.
Other colleagues of Habitat, such as Zita Kakalejcikova and Besim Nebiu presented an overview of Habitat for Humanity housing projects in Eastern Europe that included Housing microfinance services, Building and repairing homes with the help of volunteers, Disaster risk reduction and response, Poverty housing related advocacy, Residential energy efficiency as well as Housing of vulnerable groups especially the Roma.
The first panel was dedicated to the financing of residential energy efficiency and learning more about the financial engineering behind some concrete projects. Veronika Rehakova from DG Housing Policy and Urban Development, Ministry of Transport and Construction, Slovakia presented the model of the State Housing Development Fund in Slovakia and the Jessica programme which supports individual owners in multifamily apartments.
Besim Nebiu, Program Development manager/REELIH project manager, Habitat for Humanity presented the financial models of the small-scale retrofitting projects of Habitat. In its projects, Habitat aims to demonstrate the sustainability and bankability of these projects.
The second panel focused on capacity building and skills to access funding for greater-scale projects.
Saskia Luehrs presented IWO’s (Initiative Wohnungswirtschaft Osteuropa) training activities in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Particularly between 2010 and 2018, IWO carried out several targeted trainings in Ukraine, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Georgia, and Latvia, just to name a few. The trainings focused on refurbishment of residential buildings, energy efficiency, supporting reforms in the housing sector and professional housing management.
Following on from this, Edit Lakatos from Housing Europe presented an overview on the EU financial assistance opportunities to build the necessary knowledge on national and local level.
Concerning the main outcomes of the meeting, the participants got informed on the planned activities requested by the Chair, Andres Jaadla. This include communication and dissemination activities about the Working Group (dedicated section on the Housing Europe website, flyers). In addition, the website section will also include a pool of experts who are available to provide specific expertise on different topics. A preliminary list can be found at the end of this Report and participants are welcome to contact us if they have specific suggestions. Finally, the idea of a webinar on financing energy poverty was also presented that might be developed in 2019.
In terms of the next meeting, this will be organised in the first half of 2019 (week of 15-19 April) and the venue is open for discussion. The participants are welcome to offer to host the meeting. In terms of
3 the topics, based on the needs of participants expressed in 2017, the next meeting is going to tackle different housing systems, social inclusion measures, projects addressing sustainable neighbourhoods, and projects financed by CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank).
Relevant Housing Europe events have been also mentioned that include:
- International Social Housing Festival, 4-8 June, Lyon, France which will be organised together with the European Responsible Housing Awards 2019. Feel free to apply to organise a seminar or submit a project to the Awards.
- 15-18 July 2019, Bochum: European Summer School for young professionals 2019