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10 minutes with Ben Forier, Director of VMSW in Belgium

Meet the faces behind housing providers across Europe

Brussels, 15 April 2015 | Social, Urban, Economy, Energy
Ben Forier, Director of VMSW
Ben Forier, Director of VMSW

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we just head to neighbouring Flanders to introduce you to the Director of our member organisation VMSW, Ben Forier.



  • I would describe VMSW in 10 words as the agency that supports, advises and finances local social housing actors in Flanders.
  • Our key objective is to help the local social housing actors to realise and maintain affordable, full-quality housing projects.
  • Apart from housing provision, our mission is to stimulate the exchange of knowledge in the sector, to install infrastructure and to provide social loans to private individuals.
  • We are members of Housing Europe because we have to look further than our own borders: it’s important to have a voice at the European level.

In Belgium...

  • Housing is considered to be in Belgium/Flanders an important part of our well-being and economy, just as having a job, education etc. Providing good and affordable houses is one of the key means to reduce poverty.
  • Our key partners in the country/region are the representative bodies for Flemish housing associations (VVH/VLEM, HUURpunt, VVSG), the ministry of Housing and the other agencies of the Flemish Government (Wonen-Vlaanderen en Inspectie RWO).
  • Our main housing policy priority at the moment is to renovate the existing social homes and at the same time, to increase the number of social houses.
  • The major challenge for the country/region today is to make good and affordable housing possible for every member of our society, especially for those who can’t afford buying a house without help.


  • I start my working day with reading e-mails and a good cup of coffee.
  • After leaving the office I spend time with my family and read books.
  • Currently I am reading “The Time of Our Singing” (Richard Powers) while listening to jazz music.
  • I move around by train. It’s easy travelling from and to the office and it’s one more moment to work.
  • I prefer having on my table a good glass of Belgium beer. 
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