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Fighting the housing crisis

History Series #4

Brussels, 25 October 2013 | Social

The housing crisis in the beginning of the ’90s in a changing Europe…

Just a year after the CECODHAS first congress in 1992 in Strasbourg the situation in the housing sector at European level hadn’t gotten much better. However, by 1993 several member states had implemented a series of emergency plans in view of the seriousness of the risks destroying economic and social cohesion. Germany was building homes in response to the challenges of reunification and migration and Ireland followed suit to meet an increasing demand for social housing, later to be exacerbated by an economic boom and the first significant inward migration wave for many years. Others taking action included Luxembourg, Belgium, Portugal and France.

In the middle of the housing crisis, the 20 founding members of CECODHAS brought together a wealth of expertise, experience and commitment to fight the case for social housing in Europe. The report issued concluding the period 1988-1993 argued that about 10 million new or renovated homes were needed immediately to deal with the crisis.

Within this rather alarming framework, CECODHAS launches in 1993 a European Social Housing Charter calling on governments to fund housing programmes to end homelessness in Europe. The organization has had by then 29 full members in the 12 EU (following the Maastricht treaty) countries, one associate member in Belgium and nine associate members in non- EU countries. While members share common goals, each nation has its own policy approach of the housing sector. As CECODHAS second president, Giuseppe Bertolo (1989-1991) put it: “We have shown it is possible to work together without any discrimination between nationalities, to understand each other in spite of language differences and to progress towards the construction of a new Europe with firm convictions”.

As far as the work of the organization is concerned, the Executive Committee has adopted in April 1993 the plan for a permanent Secretariat in Brussels, getting thus CECODHAS into the Brussels scene.  At the same time on the initiative of fourth president, Ben Kempen (1993-1995) working groups are set up to report on fundamental issues:

  • the European Directives WG
  • the Migrants and Ethnic Minorities WG
  • the Social Rented Housing Sector WG
  • the Urban Regeneration WG
  • the East and Central Europe WG

To be continued on Friday, November 8…


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