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One step closer to more decent and affordable housing for all

The European Parliament EMPL Committee votes on a key report on housing

1 December 2020 | Published in Energy, Social, Future of the EU & Housing

On 1st December, the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) voted the “Access to decent and affordable housing for all” report of the Dutch MEP Kim van Sparrentak from the Greens. Housing Europe has been following the development of the report from an early stage and would walk you through the main points for public, cooperative and social housing providers.

The report has become known for its seven measures that address some of the, unfortunately, evergrowing problems related to the lack of affordable housing across Europe. Just to name a few, the proposals include increasing Europe’s affordable housing stock, having an integrated strategy on housing, fighting evictions and eradicating homelessness by 2030.

A major achievement of the vote has been the recognition that EU-level economic governance rules and guidelines on target group definition of social housing must be re-visited in the light of increasing mismatch between housing needs and what the market is offering.

With their vote, policymakers gave a green light to the use of recovery plans to support renovation and to dedicate special attention to social housing in the Renovation Wave.  Improving the condition of homes will empower vulnerable communities and support them in the recovery from the global health and maybe even economic crisis. This is why a positive development is the explicit call in the report to prioritise emission reduction and energy efficiency while tackling the energy poverty phenomenon.

Importantly, the European Parliament report also calls on the European Commission to reform the economic governance framework allowing Member States to make the needed green and social public investments and to adapt the target group definition of social and publicly funded housing in the rules on services of general economic interest (SGEI).

The ambition of MEP Van Sparrentak is to also address the currently unhealthy housing market. Housing Europe welcomes the given support to the recognition of “the right to adequate housing as a fundamental right”. The encouraged goal to eradicate homelessness by 2030 across the EU, to end homelessness criminalisation and provide clearer regulations of housing markets in the interest of citizens put essential questions on the EU agenda.

To continue the conversation, Housing Europe and FEANTSA are organising a webinar on 10th December where we will be looking at “The European Pillar of Social Rights, social housing and the fight against homelessness: discussion on the future EU action plan”. Join us.