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The take of Housing Europe on the Habitat for Humanity Forum

What was said where?

online, 22 November 2021 | The future of the EU & Housing

Housing Europe has collaborated closely with Habitat for Humanity and co-organised three sessions in mid-November during the Europe Housing Forum.

On 16th November, during the 'Financing affordable housing in Europe: the way forward' session, our Policy Officer, Edit Lakatos put forward the Federation's proposal to set up a European Housing Alliance that would bring ministries, cities, housing providers to exchange on post-Covid affordable housing strategies, innovative projects, finance and boost capacity building. Gerry Muscat from the European Investment Bank (EIB) who has seen the working French Alliance for Social Housing that brings together l'Union Sociale pour l'Habitat, Caisse des Dépôts, the EIB itself and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) confirmed that he could see this example scaling up at European level. We also heard from our Belgian member, Bjorn Mallants, Director of Flemish Social Housing Providers (VVH) who reminded us about the core goal of the social housing sector - to provide homes for people who are not heard and who would not otherwise have a place to live'.

On 18th November, Alice Pittini, the Research Director of Housing Europe, dwelled on the similarities and discrepancies in housing across different European regions: Western, Southern and Eastern Europe. Despite how diverse social and affordable housing systems are in Europe, she said that our network often faces common challenges - to ensure access to affordable housing for all, improve quality, strengthen regulatory framework, house vulnerable groups.

On the last day of the Forum, 19th November, our Innovation Project Manager, João Gonçalves showcased different ground breaking innovation, highlighting not only the success but also how we can transfer pilot experiences to the ground, as well as how to work more on exploitation of results, take up and capitalise on the lessons learnt. Karel Vanderpoorten, Policy Officer at the European Commission confirmed that EU's Affordable Housing Initiative is supposed to close the existing gap between state-of-the-art innovation and actual take up at local level. Making a reality check, the biggest French social housing provider, Paris Habitat pointed out that in the renovation process, housing associations are often faced with regulation that goes beyond a certain line and could be a barrier to a fast and efficient rehabilitation.

To wrap up on a high note, we want to congratulate once again our most recent member from Greece, the Major Development Agency of Thessaloniki (MDAT) for the well-deserved award in the Public Policies category for developing a city-wide social and affordable housing strategy in Thessaloniki that aims at combatting homelessness and housing exclusion. Another winner linked to Housing Europe's German member, GdW, WohnZukunft also grabbed an award for its energy effcient residential quarter management methods for CO2 and cost reduction.

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