The GA this year is organised jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and in partnership with Co-operative Housing International. A conference on the future of housing policies, as part of our Housing for All year long campaign, will take place, too.
In 2014 Housing Europe President, Marc Calon expressed the guiding sentiment of his Presidency of Housing Europe:
“If people do not have a degree of certainty about their future, of having a roof over their head, an income, assurance of safety in their neighborhood there is no confidence and no sustainable growth. Current trends of reduced employment stability, evictions and ghettoization in our cities are detrimental for our societal development. We must make the link between people’s every day concerns and policy makers at national and EU levels.”
This disconnect with peoples’ lives and real concerns many believe was one of the reasons for the 52% to tick the ‘leave box’ at the ballot boxes last week in Britain. This implies that the work to support communities and tackle inequalities will now become even more vital to ensure the original aims of the European project, to build and deliver peace and stability in our villages, towns and cities.
Now more than ever, there is reason for public, cooperative and social housing providers and all those committed to more equal societies to consolidate our efforts, concentrate on our common challenges, strengthen each other through exchanging ideas and advice and bringing our message loud and clear to the tables of policy makers at all levels.
The work of social housing providers is key to meeting our local challenges but also our European and global ones. We must remain open, inclusive and interconnected.
Therefore, this year more than even there will be a wide range of activities and events waiting for you in Geneva:
- With many countries evaluating different housing policy choices, Housing Europe joins forces with the UNECE, Housing Cooperatives International and the Slovakian Presidency of the EU for an international policy exchange conference that aims to deliver a roadmap of suggestions for the housing policies of our future in Europe and beyond.
- The General Assembly this year will dedicate time for Members to update each other on key developments and to define together key elements of our strategy going forward to 2020 and beyond. So, I urge you to take part in this team effort.
- We made sure that you will have enough time to network with your peers from across the continent as well with representatives from local and national authorities. You're welcome to the cocktail organised by the Slovakian Presidency of the EU on September 13th as well as to the one of Housing Europe just after our GA on September 14th.
- Finally, just before your departure we have planned a visit to housing projects in the city of Geneva that will give you a better understanding of the cooperatives are dealing with the affordability challenge in one of the most expensive cities in the world.