The first meeting of the EU Urban Agenda Housing partnership for 2017 took place on March 22-23, hosted by Vienna House in Brussels. Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards and Research Coordinator, Alice Pittini were there and share some of the highlights below.
Progress was made towards the approval of a ‘guidance paper on EU regulation and public support for housing', with a focus on state aid.
At the same time the sub-group on finance led by the Scottish Cities Alliance is working on a report together with the University of Glasgow with the aim to present it in September.
As leader of the sub-group on general housing policy Housing Europe is collecting ideas that cities are coming up with to address lack of affordable housing. These best practices will be organised in a toolkit. This will be an important tool that will address diverseissues like – among others- high land costs, running costs and maintenance, financing, social integration through housing.
Housing Europe presented a draft of what a ‘toolkit on affordable housing in cities could look like’. Participants showed great interest in this initiative and are willing to contribute with examples and suggestions. Furthermore, for some of the issues to be tackled by the sub-group, it was decided to start a 'mapping' of existing research and available information, starting with the topic of how to ensure availability of land for affordable housing.
Overall, the meeting showed a clear interest by local authorities' representatives in learning from each other and having a closer exchange with the European Commission and other EU Institutions.
Among others, MEP Agnes Jongerius (Socialists & Democrats/ the Netherlands) and Imane Hicham, member of the Committee of the Regions and rapporteur on a European agenda on housing, addressed the Partnership during a reception for EU institutions and stakeholders. Both expressed their support for having social housing in socially mixed neighbourhoods as a key element to better quality of life and opportunities in European cities and called for stronger support from the EU.
The partnership will meet again in Amsterdam on June 13th and 14th within the framework of the International Social Housing Festival.