The pandemic has put the spotlight on Europe’s housing crisis, exposing the shortcomings of our housing policies that have increased inequalities.
Since a couple of months, Housing Europe is glad to see a stronger recognition of the problem and one of the recent examples for that is the "Policies to Ensure Access to Affordable Housing" study that has been recently published following the request of the European Parliament's Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL). The study also takes into account some of the findings of Housing Europe's "The State of Housing in the EU 2019".
The study presents a number of recommendations for local, national and EU-level policy makers and stakeholders:
• Re-prioritisation of supply-side housing measures by local and national governments (e.g. development of affordable public housing, supporting housing associations and cooperatives). EU financial instruments should be used to support supply-side affordable housing projects, which may be especially important in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and possible financial crisis;
• Systematic monitoring of speculative activities in their housing markets by European and national statistical offices;
• Development of a single definition of homelessness in the EU, to enable systemic monitoring and comparison of homelessness rates;
• Support for recurrent immovable property taxes as a means to increase supply and affordability and tackle speculation;
• Giving consideration to not linking the exemption for social housing under EU State Aid rules to a specific target group in order to facilitate the provision of affordable housing for wider groups of the population.
The publication comes at a moment when MEP Kim Van Sparrentak (the Greens) has put forward her draft report ‘Access to Decent and Affordable Housing for All’ the EESC has issued an opinion on opinion on "Universal access to housing that is decent, sustainable and affordable over the long term". Housing Europe is following closely how the discussion is evolving and will keep you updated.