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10 minutes with Urs Hauser, Director of the Swiss Housing Cooperatives

Meet the faces behind housing providers across Europe

Zürich, 31 May 2016 | Social, Urban, Economy, Energy
Urs Hauser
Urs Hauser

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we visit Zurich, in Switzerland. Urs Hauser, the director of the Swiss Housing Cooperatives introduces the organisation, gives us information about the perception of housing in the country and shares some thoughts about the current challenges at national and regional level. Plus, as usual, he presents his own way to strike a good life-work balance.

“Wohnbaugenossenschaften Schweiz” ID

  • I would describe Wohnbaugenossenschaften Schweiz in 10 words as
    the umbrella organisation of the non profit housing cooperatives in Switzerland.
  • Our key objective is to promote and support the construction and renovation of low-priced, high-quality housing. We want to develop and professionalize our industry. We want the market share of non-profit housing developers to increase and we want awareness of cooperative housing and the cooperative model to be raised. And especially, we are fighting for better political conditions for the non profit housing sector.
  • Apart from housing provision, our mission is to collect and satisfy the needs of our members- over 1000 housing cooperatives and other non profit housing developpers in Switzerland-, to support a professional development of our members, with a range of services, such as consulting, financing and accounting services, training courses, publications and events.
  • We joined Housing Europe because since we are a small country, it is always inspiring and valuable to us to connect with other organisations from all over the world. Even if the political and economic conditions in different countries may not be the same. There are challenges and issues which do not end at the front door, the garden gate, the housing complex or the country border.  

In Switzerland

  • Housing is considered to be in Switzerland a basic human need. Actually, the Federal Constitution says that the government needs to promote low priced housing and to make sure that there are enough affordable apartments for everyone. 
  • Our key partners in the country are the housing cooperatives, the government, cantons, cities and municipalities, other organisations.
  • Our main housing policy priority at the moment is political lobbying for effective housing subsidies and access to land for the housing cooperatives.
  • The major challenge for the country today is to take measures against the tense situation in the housing market with rising rents and a lack of low-cost housing. To find solutions to make housing available to everyone and to integrate the disadvantaged.

In person

  • I start my working day as soon as the day is dawning.
  • After leaving the office if I don’t have any evening meeting, I enjoy spending time with my family.
  • Currently I am reading “Mordgarten”, a crime novel that a famous Swiss author wrote for us and that takes place in a housing cooperative…
  • I move around by train.
  • I prefer having on my table a hot cup of coffee.
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