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A better future for our communities is our responsibility

Housing Europe turns 30

Brussels, 6 June 2018 | Published in Social

Editorial of our 30-year anniversary publication by our President, Cedric Van Styvendael.


There are two ways to approach the future, either react to the various developments or try to shape it proactively. In the case of Housing Europe, I think we are already heading down a one-way street and we have but the one option: which is to shape it. The occasion of the 30-year anniversary of our organisation offers us a good opportunity to take a step back and reflect on our very mission.

Today’s highly globalized and interconnected world is changing at a very fast pace and we can feel the effects of this constant transformation happening at international scale at the local level almost immediately. The public, cooperative and social housing providers across Europe are facing big challenges, such as an ageing population, migration and increase in homelessness to name a few. These, as well as other defining factors in the urban and rural fabric, are calling on us to adapt the way we operate and provide homes.

In fact, we should not forget what gives shape to our vision statement, which is the reality of us securing more than «just» a roof for people. We work hard and we have to work harder to deliver services that are based on broad partnerships at local level with other relevant associations, such care providers, training centres and of course the local authorities. Now more than ever, we have to capitalize on strong alliances that will help us have an even bigger impact on improving people’s lives. Housing is where everything starts.

Our rich legacy over the last thirty years can guide safely towards the future. No matter how much things change in our society, it is up to us to maintain the same level of commitment and positive footprint on our neighbourhoods. I am confident that we will continue to do that over the next thirty years as none of us are alone in this. We have the power of this network. We have to use it more. We have to use each other more than ever before in the past.

Once you have finished browsing through the pages of this special publication, I am sure that you will have drawn inspiration from the things we have achieved together as well as from the passion with which so many people have been involved in our family for a number of years. In the end, I am sure that you will agree with me that it is not our choice but rather our responsibility and obligation to shape a better future for our tenants and for our wider communities.