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The 2022 International Social Housing Festival as it happened

Follow this space during the Festival week to receive the latest updates from the Housing Europe team

Helsinki, Finland, 14 June 2022 | Published in Energy, Social, Future of the EU & Housing

After two years of planning, it was finally showtime. Over 900 public, cooperative, social housing providers, city authorities, EU policymakers, bankers, urbanists, architects, and researchers came to Helsinki to celebrate smart housing policies and discuss how we can overcome the multiple challenges ahead of the sector. The Housing Europe team is organised or co-organised 16 events, and attending events led by our peers. See the Festival through our eyes in this live blog that we run for the whole week.

17th June 2022 I 15:38 EET


It is official, the next International Social Housing Festival will take place in Barcelona in March 2023!

The 2022 edition organisers - ARA, Helsinki City, and Housing Europe – passed the baton to Barcelona City Council which will be our ISHF host next year, as usual, supported by Housing Europe to ensure that the international community is present and engaged. Javier Buron, the Housing Manager of City of Barcelona hinted that the housing community will witness many emerging housing models that despite of their short history, aim at delivering better housing conditions to communities and neighbourhoods.

Make sure to follow which will transform over the summer to the new edition and share more news on the call for events in autumn 2022.

Why we need a Festival?

Judging by the positive feedback we have been receiving, we have most likely convinced you about how essential is to keep on gathering, learning, and improving the way we house citizens.

Housing Europe’s Secretary-General, Sorcha Edwards stressed three key points. The Festival wakes us up about what works well and what models need to be revamped, being aware helps us to avoid accidents because mistakes in housing policy take a long time to have an impact, and getting together is an opportunity to learn and tackle challenges collectively.

17th June 2022 I 14:08 EET


The Festival is slowly coming to an end.

“By 2027, we aim to eradicate homelessness completely,” Hanna Sarkkinen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health in Finland stated at the closing ceremony. She also added that since 2008, the national strategy to combat homelessness has been based on the Housing First approach. “The practice of giving people a permanent home and providing the support they need to keep it has proved results,” the Minister also added.

We also heard from the well-known Danny Dorling – a Geographer and Professor, University of Oxford, the School of Geography and the Environment, co-author of book Finntopia – about the housing policy of the United Kingdom (UK) in recent decades which from a successful example has turned into a place where the access to decent, quality housing is not for everyone.

“Since the last 20 years, children of Oxford are more likely to die in the street of Oxford, than to study at the Oxford university. Oxford has the highest homeless death rate in the UK,” Danny Dorling said and added that the UK has a very little public spendnig compared to other European countries, including states where public housing is underdeveloped or non-existent and economies that have been hardly hit, such as Greece or Spain.

The Finnish futurist, Elina Hiltunen stressed how important it is to make cities liveable. Today, 50% of the population lives in cities, but cities are 2% of the globe. At the same time, they produce 70% of the CO2. 99% of the world lives in areas where the air is polluted.

“I often wondered how hard it is to share a city's policy mix and solutions regarding housing. After this week, I understand that it is shareable and we can learn and improve, even if systems cannot be changed completely. We need courage, pride and a will,' Anni Sinnemäki, the Deputy Mayor of City of Helsinki said.

Hanna Dhalmann, a Housing Programme Manager at City of Helsinki who had previously worked on the preparations around the Festival as part of ARA, highlighted what does make Finland and its people a happy place. The mix of the possibility to meet basic needs (shelter, nutrition, good sleep, warmth, safety); the feeling for being cared for and valued (to be part of the society), and the perception of being able to accomplish things have making the Finnish society feel complete.

“Being a city that learns and develops, a city that is not setting for the status quo and that is getting rid of excuses, that is a city that can develop and keep people happy,” Hanna Dhalmann pointed out and thanked the 900 ISHF participants for ‘making Helsinki a happier place”.

17th June 2022 I 10:21 EET


Housing Europe has organised multiple events throughout this week for the external housing world. Now, it is time to focus on the members of our Federation, those who make the impossible to happen on the ground

The ever-increasing materials and energy prices that social and affordable housing providers have been experiencing urged the Housing Europe Observatory team to work on a mid-term State of Housing report that provides a holistic picture of the difficulties that the sector has been facing in different countries across Europe. Give it a read.

Three months since the war in Ukraine has started, the message of our members remains clear – public, cooperative, and social housing providers are determined to offer support to the Ukrainian people and you will hear about our next actions in the following weeks.

17th June 2022 I 09:34 EET


The last day of #ISHF2022 started with a workshop organised by Housing Europe about Big Data and its potential to make housing more affordable by providing more insights about the state of our buildings and the ways we could make them more energy-efficient The EU-funded MATRYCS project has been working in this direction for over 18 months.

Gema Hernández Moral from CARTIF Technology Center – a MATRYCS partner based in Spain - kicked off by saying that “the benefits from understanding how buidlings perform and how they could be more efficiently managed can be significant, considering that 40% of energy consumption in Europe comes from buildings”.

Elissaios Sarmas who is completing a PhD in machine learning and data source at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) explained that the project is also developing a data-analytical tool which will develop an easy-to-use platform for project planners to estimate the energy consumption, construction investment and investment portfolio options.

But to what extent do we make sense of data today?

Looking at the existing follow-up data, Latvija Vides Investīciju Fonds  said that the estimated results are not reached. From their perspective, it is not because the projects were not well-designed but most likely because the end-users were not aware enough about how to use the new infrastructure. This is a big challenge and the [Latvian] Ministry has been considering possible ways forward to improve the system, Gints Kārkliņš from Latvija Vides Investīciju Fonds added.

“Monitor, measure and validate“, Scott Summers from Fuzzlab advised. The company has been relying on the so-called Switchee - a sensor which once placed in a building has the ability to collect data on performance of the house compiling all factors related to energy consumption (temperature, humidity, etc.). Switchee provides information on the property to their owner but also makes a comparison with other properties.

After a heated discussion, our panellists came up to the conclusion that if we want Big Data to deliver on its promises, we need to raise awareness on the importance of data usage among tenants and residents, to set up more sensors to expand our knowledge, and very importantly, we must remind households about the every-day life ‘tools’ that we can all apply.

16th June 2022 I 17:34 EET


The excitement and curiosity about who the 2022 European Responsible Housing Awards winners will be could be felt in the Maijansali room of the Central Library that gathered more than 180 attendees.

Marie Linder, President of IUT, spoke on behalf of the tenants’ unions, Bent Madsen, President of Housing Europe, did a quick tour on what each awards category stands for, and Anne Behlouli, representing Delphis, summarised what Corporate Social Responsibility means. Five jury members did their best to summarise the essence of each category as well as to underline the strengths of each finalist. You will have the opportunity to read all about the 23 projects, but first, let’s have a quick overview of the winners!

Fair financing for housing affordability: Yes We Rent! - Leveraging vacant private property to build up a cooperative affordable housing scheme | Mataró City Council 

“Lloguem!/ Yes We Rent” tackles a dramatic lack of affordable rental housing. It is a project that aims to explore solutions based on the social and cooperative economy to generate an alternative supply of affordable and stable housing in the city of Mataró, Spain.

More than a roof – supporting communities of equal opportunities: Achtercairn, Gairloch: Regenerating A Rural Highland Community | Communities Housing Trust 

Communities across the Highlands have suffered depopulation, loss of services, challenges of increasing tourism and house prices and consequent loss of existing housing stock and increased pressure on remaining businesses and services. The small village of about 750 inhabitants benefits from a community-led development tailored to local and long-term needs coordinated by the Communities Housing Trust (CHT).

Leaders of innovation, agents of fair energy transition: Bertelotte student residence: Bio-based transformation of office space into student accommodation, Paris | Paris Habita

The transformation of the unused office building into the Bertelotte student residence was the opportunity for Paris Habitat to innovate in terms of construction practices and to contribute to the achievement of its climate commitments.

Building strategic alliances, fostering community participation: Empowering tenants to co-create a strategic urban transformation, Aalborg | Himmerland Boligforening

Himmerland Boligforening believes that renovations alone are not enough to change a city district. That is why the tenants were made co-creators, to contribute to attracting new residents. The physical renovation included an extensive renovation of a total of 1.100 residences spread over three main roads.

Going the extra mile in extraordinary circumstances: Arriving Home. A sustainable initiative on combatting homelessness in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Vienna | GBV Austrian Federation of Limited-Profit Housing Associations and BAWO

Due to the financial consequences of the Covid-19 crisis, many more people became vulnerable to homelessness. The project solves this issue by financing tenants’ upfront contributions and allocating apartments in a participatory way.

Keep an eye on for more updates. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

16th June 2022 I 17:34 EET


'Housing cooperatives: a sustainable model for European and Mediterranean countries' organised by Housing Europe and the Union for the Mediterranean was an opportunity to learn and exchange about the different realities of housing cooperatives - in Germany, Italy, Ireland, Montenegro, Egypt, Turkey, and Morocco. This session was real learning experience that allowed to identify commonalities and differences across these diverse contexts.

Guido Schwarzendal from GdW presented housing coops in Germany, an impressive sector with more than 2 million homes. He highlighted the long-term sustainable model but also the need for a 'new foundation programme' to foster establishment of new housing coops.

Rossana Zaccaria, President of Legacoop Abitanti in Italy also highlighted how we should aim at a 'nouvelle vague' of housing cooperatives, with the young generations in mind. A key topic for the sector in Italy is how to combine housing and welfare.

We learned from Eoin Carrol from Cooperative Housing Ireland (CHI) that the Irish word 'meitheal' means cooperation to solve social needs. As registered housing bodies, housing cooperatives have a strong social focus and listen to their members’ needs, this is how for instance many of them have been setting up childcare facilities in their neighbourhoods

Radmila Lainovic explained that in Montenegro, housing cooperatives work on offering affordable and stable solutions to essential employees from the education and healthcare public sector.

Khaled Abdelhaim described housing cooperatives in Egypt as a missed opportunity in terms of accommodating the low-income majority of the urban population but has strong hope that coops could provide a great solution for informal settlements dwellers - a point which was also shared by Mohammed-Achraf Hanbale. The latter also explained the current positive changes in the regulatory framework for housing coops in Morocco.

Guldehan Atay commented on the history of housing cooperatives in Turkey looking both at shortfalls and successes.

The key common element was the idea that housing coooperatives can be a win win situation as far as they put people at the centre of their business models, and that there is a need to recreate and promote the image of housing coops, something international cooperations can help with.

16th June 2022 I 17:34 EET


It has been more than 2 years since the Horizon 2020 syn.ikia project and its pilot buildings have been showing how the people-centred energy transition in neighbourhoods can benefit everyone. Organised by Housing Europe and the project coordinator, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology the hands-on workshop demonstrated how housing developers could implement energy-efficiency measures into their plans, achieving higher energy efficiency for buildings, more flexible energy consumption in neighbourhoods, and social inclusion.



16th June 2022 I 13:35 EET


Read about the experience of Mellunmäki Walking Tour by our colleague, Clara Mafé who is Housing Europe’s Innovation and Project Officer.

In the morning, she took the metro to Mellunmäki, the northernmost metro station in the world, to visit two new social rental housing blocks and a right-of-occupancy housing scheme.

The first social rental housing block was Pyhätunturintie 2, which is owned by Heka, a housing company owned by the city of Helsinki. The block was awarded the "Best ARA square meters of 2022" award and is fuelled by district heating. The average monthly rent price is 450-1350€/dwelling. Tenants can enjoy common facilities, such as a smoke-free courtyard, a common ground floor space and sauna.

Blackstone was the second one, unrelated to the famous investment fund and managed by Toivo Group and financed by ARA. Its geothermal heating system takes the building to an energy efficiency class A. Tenants’ profile ranges from seniors, to students and families. Waste recycling, charging stations and smart lock are facilitated for residents. Studio rooms are offered from 450€/month and 5 room family apartments from 1200€.

Clara also visited a right-of-occupancy project that consists of four-terraced houses (Viitankruununtie 34). Right-of-occupancy is a housing tenure between rental housing and owner-occupied housing. The block is owned by one of the City’s housing companies, HASO and is mostly targeting middle-income tenants.

“There is a need for wider look on justice in housing renovation,“ Wendy Broers, Senior Researcher and Lecturer at Zuyd University pointed out.

Giving an example of what could happen If housing providers dismiss tenants’ needs, Ruth Woods, Research Scientist at Norwegian University of Science and Technology gave the example of how not designing a proper balcony for a lady whose passions were plants resulted into making her place her flower pots on the solar panels.

At the end of the day, we are all learning by doing. However, it would be a pity if we are not learning from the mistakes of others.

16th June 2022 I 12:25 EET


John Stevens and Sarah Mittons from the biggest social housing provider in England, Clarion presented the asks of young people, following the youth summit they organised in London this spring. Health and wellbeing, climate change, youth unemployment, and the cost of housing are the four most pressing issues the young generation is facing. See the Youth Charter that youngsters and housing providers drafted together to deliver better futures.


16th June 2022 I 12:25 EET


The third panel of Housing Europe’s annual conference looked at the existing digital infrastructure within social housing dwellings, the ways young tenants are making use of new technologies, what do they need to see improved, and how can housing providers ensure that connectivity and digitalisation leave no one behind.

Samuli Kullström, the Director of NAL Asunnot – a not-for-profit housing provider in Finland that has been specialising entirely on homes for youth in the past 30 years – is already ahead of the game. Its company has been offering multiple administrative services online via a mobile app, facilitating young tenants to move in or out with just a few clicks. Speaking about its experience during COVID-19, Samuli Kullström and his team had to re-think their digital approach to keep the community together and find safe possibilities for young people to meet, go to the gym or have a barbecue.

NAL-Asunnot has also been open to experiment with rather recent social media tools, starting the conversation where youth is ready to listen and interact.

“We are on TikTok and YoDo. However, these are also the channels where the most negative matters are being discussed. We are there, ready to receive feedback and try to get in touch personally to tackle the problems,” he said.

Lucie Lescude, Project manager and in charge of International Affairs at the biggest social housing provider in the French capital, Paris Habitat shared a similar experience with social media. The channels have so far had the tendency to focus on problem-solving, making it, according to her, “rather difficult to create a positive vibe on social media.”

Ian Wright, CEO of the Disruptive Innovators Network based in the UK also acknowledged that it is important to have a platform which gives everybody a voice, allowing social landlords to solve the issues they are able to find an answer to and “stand as a bridge between tenants and authorities that can solve the bigger problems.”

“I don’t think young people would like to spend their time sitting at meetings of a board. If we want them to be part of decision making, also the board needs to change its way of work and get closer to how youth want to work and take decisions. We need to think about youth involvement in this way,” Ian Wright pointed out.

Thinking about alternative ways, NAL Asunnot has also been creating a series of videos with a sense of humour, explaining how young people could recyle waste or maintain their flats better.

Sitting in the audience, a cooperative from Sweden also shared its experience in working with young people. More particularly, they have been solving problems by involving youth in the decision-making board. As a board member, every three months, young tenants in Sweden would have to work at a desk at least once a week, an approach that has made them think differently about the proposed decisions.


16th June 2022 I 10:05 EET


“Houses need to be reconstructed and renovated, sometimes totally changed. However, the way to do it is important, so people do not lose touch with their place,” Fatih de Vos, a sociologist, a rap singer who is working with the youth community in Ghent, Belgium said. Fatih shared its personal experience as someone who grew up in social housing in Flanders and one could easily see that his honesty grabbed the audience. He raised the mismatch between supply and demand that causes ever-increasing waiting lists for social housing while young people are in a very precarious situation.

“Youth housing is not seen like something that is ready to house young professionals who have time and capacity to develop the community and the area. However, there is also youth that wants to found a family at the age of 23 and for these people, a small apartment is not enough. At the same time, the capacity they could offer to develop projects is not huge. These people then become immediately excluded from the youth housing initiatives we often see,” Barend Wind, advisor at Lieven de Key in the Netherlands said. He further added that very often, the supply of homes for people who would like to remain in their neighbourhood after leaving the parental home is not always a given.

A colleague of Barend Wind, Eeke van der Wal runs social projects at Parteon also in the Netherlands and has had experience with community management projects mentioned that while having projects aimed at young people is very important, social housing providers and the authorities must consider where would these tenants go once they are in a different age category.

“It is not true that only educated better-off people join the conversation. We need to go on the ground and work all the way down so that all people understand what we are doing, involve them the way they need. There is lots of knowledge and talent in every neighbourhood,” Eeke van der Wal said. To her, what would make a real difference is the way we structure participatory public meetings and cooperation with youth, the public sector and society.

Around the table, we also had Mariachiara Cela, a board member of the Milan-based cooperative housing, DAR=CASA who highlighted that inclusion and participatory activities could take place not only when new projects are being developed but also during tenancy.

"Short-term rent contract is a problem. This might be an opportunity for some; however, this can be a problem for family stability and also it makes neighbourhoods anonymous. For that we build common spaces in buildings and support. These are the so-called 'social landlords' whose task is to bring people together and make it easier for them to meet and live together," she concluded.

16th June 2022 I 10:39 EET


Even if online, we were pleased to be joined by the first elected EU Youth Coordinator, Biliana Sirakova whose role is to connect key players working with young people with the EU institutions and the policies they are shaping. She said that the EU is preparing a new initiative, a social inclusion scheme offering couching, counselling, supervised stay abroad and continuous support to the most vulnerable youth who can this way expand their opportunities in all spheres of life including housing.

The President of the Socialists and Democrats Group at the European Parliament, Iraxte Garcia Perez also said that “enough is enough” and that it is time to find solution to the housing problem. “Conferences like this are of important for putting the pressure on public authorities to make housing options and life of people better,” she stressed.

Edo Omic, a Senior Economist at the CEB explained that while the bank would have the capacity to finance new projects, the capacity at local level that is necessary to implement the project is sometimes missing. “That is why a part of the financial support is dedicated to developing the institutional scope and the technical assistance, for the project to be implemented and sustainable in the long-term,” he said.

The Councilwoman for housing in Lisbon, Filipa Roseta promised that she will work on re-inventing the cooperative housing movement together with the youth in the Portuguese capital. The city administration is in the process of choosing suitable land to build and then lend it to young people to build on it for 90 years. While the initiative sounds inspiring, especially for a city with enormous housing problems, there are several challenges ahead of it, especially in the design of the rules that will identify who is selected. The current criteria will look at youth’s financial situation, social sustainability and their willingness to take on a social project, as well as environmental sustainability.

“I think that the new neighbourhoods we are to develop can also have a significant impact on areas, which are in the vicinity of these new areas. There might be inspiration and wonderful externalities for the neighbouring areas,” Filipa Roseta said.

After amazing members at our last Working Committees in March, Housing Europe’s Board Member, Christian Krainer from GBV (Austria) shared the modular Kiubo approach with ISHF participants. Kiubo is a recent company and an original idea that attaches or detaches 25m2 building blocks to a home, allowing flats to quickly become bigger or smaller – an approach that particularly fits into young people’s dynamic lifestyles.

“It is about 900 EUR for m2 which makes 40.000 EUR price for 45m2 apartment – this is a perfect price. The approximate living time of these modules is about 40 years. Two-thirds all of people in Austria are in rented apartments and this is our new way to go forward in an affordable way,” he described and added that while Kiubo is now targeting middle class families, scaling up the approach could democratise the cost in the future.

16th June 2022 I 9:46 EET


The young people of today are nowadays worried to become adults. How is that? One of the most worrying questions for today’s young people in many countries is how to find quality affordable home at places where work is. The solutions to this problem are to be discussed today, at the Housing Europe Annual Conference called ‚What if...we imagined Next Generation housing with the youth?‘. Our President, Bent Madsen has just kicked off the conference with an important theme that he called “housing for welfare”, giving the example of his home country, Denmark.

Let’s add to the European Year of Youth debate with this important event.

15th June 2022 I 18:21 EET


What does energy poverty mean and how can we recognise it when we see it? How can we diagnose an energy inefficient home or when someone struggles with paying for a warm or cool home without making them feel ashamed of it? How can we tackle the problem effectively, leveraging innovative financing schemes and building joint energy initiatives e.g., energy communities?

In the year of record-high energy bills and the moment when ‘stay at home’ has been the norm for over two years, the EU-funded project, POWERPOOR called on public, cooperative, and social housing providers, municipalities, and researchers to be engaged in tackling the phenomenon.

At our stand in Helsinki City Hall this afternoon, Housing Europe, ICLEI, INZEB and our Estonian member, EKYL explained how to join a community of hundreds of POWERPOOR certified Energy Supporters and Mentors, working on the ground, enabling change and providing paths out of energy poverty in their regions.

POWERPOOR is a 3-year Horizon 2020 project that started back in September 2020. The initiative in which Housing Europe plays a key role is aiming at energy poverty alleviation by supporting energy poor citizens to implement energy efficiency interventions and participate in joint energy initiatives, through the development of support programmes and ICT-driven tools. The project aims to facilitate citizens’ behaviour change towards energy use and uptake of energy-efficient measures through experience and knowledge sharing.

Come and get to see how you can become a certified POWERPOOR Energy Supporter and Mentor, be part of the movement, and support vulnerable households in your city or area.

15th June 2022 | 17:28 EET


We are living the Helsinki Festival at the moment, however, some of us are at the same time already thinking of the next one to come – ISHF Barcelona 2023! This evening dialogue event organised by Barcelona City Council which is hosting the next-year edition, is looking at the great challenges of housing in the contemporary world, starting the discussion already now. We had representatives of local authorities and associations, explaining practices in their cities and together searching for solutions to efficient cooperation.

See some of the key messages that we took away on that evening.

"The situation with housing in Berlin is not good. Only with stricter rules for housing market can we make real estate sector accessible for general population again,“ Julian Schwarze, Die Grünnen, representative of the city of Berlin said.

"With its housing policy, Helsinki city focuses on mixing society and mixing dwelling types, through which we aim to prevent social exclusion," Hanna Dhalmann, Helsinki City Housing Programme Manager  explained.

“Healthcare providers and educational parties in the city, as well as multiple smaller initiatives organise community and neighbourhood activities. These kinds of things are very important because they develop the community as a whole,“ Pepijn Bakker, Housing Association Rochdale, Amsterdam said.

“We need investors who are really strong and long-lasting, aiming for long-term building; mobilisation of private landlords for the social housing sector, further socialising affordable properties,“ Renaud Payre, Lyon, Vice-président of the Métropole of Lyon.

“In 2017, the first ISHF festival in Amsterdam was an investment in mental health because the festival was the answer to our question: “Are we crazy when thinking about social housing?“ Javier Buron Cuadrado,  Housing Manager Barcelona City Council

"Helsinki does still need to look out of our tiny Finnish box when seeing so many problems other cities have to face, which we do not even know here. I am very inspired and we still have a lot to do." Hanna Dhalmann, Housing Program Manager at the City of Helsinki

15th June 2022 | 17:28 EET


Estonia's Housing practice was the topic of interest at the event organised by the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations (EKYL) which is also a Housing Europe member. This workshop explained very well the growing experience of investing in innovation and empowering apartment associations. 

“The future of renovation is pre-fabricated and circular,” Targo Kalamees, Professor at Talinn University said.

Edit Lakatos, a Senior Policy Officer at Housing Europe also took part in the panel and presented the different starting points of renovation across Europe. 

15th June 2022 | 16:30 EET


The second afternoon of the festival was an exciting one for the participants of the festival who attended the workshop co-organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and Housing Europe. The focus point of the event was the #Housing2030 report that looks at land policy, decarbonisation of homes, sustainable finance and better governance while ensuring housing affordability. This publication is the initiative of three global institutions: UNECE, UN-Habitat, and Housing Europe. Sorcha Edwards, the Secretary-General of Housing Europe said that: ‘Climate change became an existential problem, among other challenges, and we need to use the report as a toolkit to help us adapt and make sure that no one is left behind’.

The presentation of the report was followed by two panels. The first one revolved around best practices at local level on affordable climate-neutral housing. Examples from Paris, Barcelona, or cities in the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe or the United States were presented, all using innovative solutions such as reusing metal containers.

From the second panel, the shared practices focused more on the national level, as the speakers presented the regulation in place and available solutions from very different contexts: Slovenia and Slovakia have to manage a housing stock that is mostly privately owned, while the Netherlands need to speed up the renovations to meet the 2050 goals. In Malta the interior design seems to be an important need of the tenants, while in the USA the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development supports technological innovation such as heat pumps.

15th June 2022 I 14:58


The lead writer of the #Housing2030 report – led by Housing Europe, the UNECE, and UN-HABITAT – Julie Lawson made a powerful intro to the devastating impact that financialisation and speculation have on our housing systems. She pointed out that even if we have seen enormous growth in mortgage credit, this has not led to the growth in new housing supply. So, is there an alternative to asset-based welfare? This is what we discussed in the ‘Tools to tame financialisation’ session at Helsinki City Hall.

Julie Lawson went on to saying that governments have lost their confidence or forgotten how to shape better markets and would rather let the market rip than rip into the market. ‘This has been due to a number of factors, primarily constraints on public investment, Competition Policy, the Maastricht Treaty, and the Growth and Stability Pact, which held back public investments all these policies and rules of thumb are subject to debate,’ she said.

Professor Michelle Norris from University College of Dublin explained how does financialization reduce housing affordability. First, increasing flows of capital into housing meet fixed land supply and inelastic housing supply. Secondly, new circuits of finance enable commercial investment in housing and enable speculation. Thirdly, non-profit circuits of finance and finance for social and affordable housing reduce or disappear. Fourthly, finance for commercial investment and speculation is free or ‘cheap’. Finally, finance for low-income households is less available and more expensive.  

Instead of putting a plaster over the cracks, Professor Norris said that we have to actively shape the housing markets in the direction we want as a society. The #Housing2030 report is providing multiple tools to governments to do that.

We know that the ongoing financialisation of housing can be a tremendously complex topic. To make it more understandable, Housing Europe, together with the writers of the report have launched new series that offers tools on how we can tame this phenomenon. Tune in! 

15th June 2022 | 13:15 EET


Housing Europe was excited to do a really hands-on workshop on circular renovation of affordable Housing. Our participants have popped up with pockets full of ideas and experience, still ready to get more and bring them home. The tools we have collected from Horizon 2020 innovation projects HOUSEFUL and Drive 0 served as a good solid base, demonstrated a good Portuguese practice of blocks of houses where exactly this has been successful. We enjoyed and are soon coming with reality-based tangible set of tools, you all may think of for your areas!

15th June 2022 | 11:15 EET


Bent Madsen, president of Housing Europe launched the Housing Europe dialogue on Homelessness and social work. As the key-note speaker, minister of Ireland, Darragh O'Brien, showed participants the Irish commitment to develop housing in Ireland and mainly, to build the capacity of the country and its people to be able to keep a sufficient housing supply in the long term. 

Katarina Ivankovič-Knezevič, Director for Social Rights and Inclusion from DG EMPL presented the work on a European level to assist Member States, Renaud PAYRE, Vice-President of the Métropole de Lyon brought to the participants the French case and how the city of Lyon works together with stakeholders to deliver more affordable housing. 

We explored the new Danish homelessness strategy, presented by Rikke Lønne, Chair of social Affairs committee of Housing Europe.

And finally, Y Foundation from Finland brought us concrete examples on the ground on how to concretely improve the delivery of housing through social work. A true dialogue on what both sides need to do to facilitate the process of access to housing.

The session was an excellent opportunity to bring together key actors to explore the relationship between housing policy strategy and the reality of social work in housing those who need it most.


"We are educating our men and women to work in the housing and construction sector."

“I would like to see the EU legislators to focus on what we can do together to tackle homelessness. We have the human and institutional capacity to do so, it is only about commitment of our countries.” Darragh O'Brien, Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

“ We have a multiannual plan for Housing which is fully funded by the Irish Government. Finally, after 12 years of undersupply of Housing.“ Darragh O'Brien, Minister of Housing, Local Government and Heritage


Housing First in Europe

“It took a bit of time to take the ball roll in the right direction but with the good examples we have to learn from nowadays, I believe we are almost on the way to get there.“ Katarina Ivankovič-Knezevič, Director for Social Rights and Inclusion, DG EMPL


Housing Advice services (HAS) as a part of Housing First system in Finland 

  • (HAS Work with tenants on all possible issues – dealing with neighbours, reconstructions, payment problems, etc.
  • When a tenant has a problem, a team of Housing Advice Service gets together with the tenant and all others involved and develop a common strategy on solution of their problem.

“When we talk about Housing First, we include Housing Advice Services as we take it as a necessary part of the Housing First strategy. ”  Juha Kahila, Head of International Affairs, Y-Foundation, Finland


Prevention of homelessness 

"We have 1 mil tenants and our social work reaches about 250.000 tenants. We also have extensive financial counselling to prevent eviction. There is someone for every tenant to talk to when they face financial problem.Rikke Lønne, Chair of social Affairs committee of Housing Europe

"We need to go to a very local practical level when implementing policies. We need to make sure that local authorities work together, know who does what, whose responsibility is what. This needs to be clear. And everybody in the chain needs to know they are not solving a problem but helping to expand opportunities of single person they are treating. Municipalitiies need to work on this.Rikke Lønne, Chair of social Affairs committee of Housing Europe


Housing First and Affordable housing in Lyon

"Private landors and their mobilisation might be a solution to Lyon social housing shortage. This tool might be a topic to develop together with the Europeran Commission and their expertise. We need to find new tools and involve them." Vice-President of the Métropole de Lyon

"We need a new program towards housing and cities. However, we need a direct dialogue between EC and cities. That is what we have been trying to create since the beginning of this year also within the French Presidency to EU." Vice-President of the Métropole de Lyon

"The role of EC to lead cities in the direction toward successful implementation of Housing First Strategy is very important." Vice-President of the Métropole de Lyon

15th June 2022 I 10:46 EET


Climate change and the lack of mitigation can have far-reaching consequences, especially for households living in particularly vulnerable areas. This was the case with the floods in Germany, Austria, Luxemburg, and Belgium in the recent summer. The EU’s Green Deal aims to trigger a renovation wave of 35 million homes by 2030. This is an opportunity to integrate vital climate adaptation to increase our resilience to extreme weather conditions which vary greatly throughout the region requiring a customised approach.

In the ‘Climate-proof and resilient social housing’ session organised by Housing Europe at Helsinki’s Central Library, Oodi, we had a good exchange of practices, answers, and many questions.

One thing is sure, Scandinavian countries are one step ahead.

We heard from Marika Nyyssönen from the social housing provider, Helsingin kaupungin asunnot Oy, HEKA in Finland who explained how they are adapting to climate change, and implementing a lifecycle management cycle. The tool brings the city’s goals and policies for ecological building forward. HEKA is also making the best of using stormwater and according to the ‘Helsinki Green Roof’ initiative, all roofs should be implemented primarily as green roofs. The Finnish social housing provider is using future climate models to simulate indoor conditions, based on which they choose the right measures to climate-proof buildings. HEKA relies on IoT technology to monitor the temperature and is piloting a room-specific intelligent heating control.

Looking at how Iceland is coping with the cold climate, Sigrún Árnadóttir, CEO of Felagsbustadir which is a social housing company in Reykjavík, she announced that the country has just adopted an Action Plan on Climate Change with 50 operations, extensively focusing on diminishing CO2.

Borislava Woodford, a policy analyst from the New European Bauhaus team said that there is a plan to start a pilot exploring innovative funding solutions to mobilise private funding, thinking particularly of philanthropy and crowdfunding. Being asked to think of a Bauhaus labelling strategy, she stressed that ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, and that it is challenging to coin beauty, sustainability, and inclusion.

Housing has to be a societal question. “We hope that the New European Bauhaus will change the broader focus and the perspective that housing is taken care of each individual on the market,” our Secretary-General, Sorcha Edwards said. A key takeaway from the 'Climate-proof and resilient #socialhousing' session is that we need a strategic plan to adapt housing to climate change, spread the learning, and get everybody on board to put the plan together to have a buy-in.

15th June 2022 | 09:56 EET


The Collaborative housing day kicked off with a few introductory words from representatives of Housing Europe, the City of Helsinki and the Habitant International Coalition. Bent Madsen, President of Housing Europe, started his intervention by saying that when it comes to collaborative housing, the start is the most difficult moment. Where to start is the most important question. In Denmark, this began as a movement of the unions together with the socially responsible part of the society, a movement which later became part of the welfare state. It is then very important to keep inventing and reinventing the housing sector. ‘We need to give everyone the chance to decent housing’ Bent Madsen said.

Ulla Kuitunen from the City of Helsinki presented a short history of more than 100 years of collaborative housing in Helsinki. She mentioned the three existing models: family-based, consultant based and the one of creating organisations for the purpose of building collaborative houses. She emphasised that this must not become just raw business, but collaborative housing should be fun and people-based.

Lastly, Adriana Allen, the President of Habitat International Coalition insisted that housing is just a beginning and not the end, as policy changes are needed to secure access to land and affordability, to protect the tenants and not only the sector, and to recognise the wide diversity of the homeless.

15th June 2022 | 09:42 EET


The Helsinki Mix presentation was the right wake-up presentation for everyone present. The „Mix“ states for a thoroughly planned mixture of tenure types within neighbourhoods, as well as a social mix in all areas (age, social status or health status, etc.) More will be in the report!

15th June 2022 | 09:42 EET


On the very first day of the Festival, Pepijn, Judith, and Pieter, the vloggers of ISHF, strolled around the city and managed to make it to quite a few sessions. See who did they talk to.

We have promised one video a day, expect episode 2 tomorrow on Housing Europe's YouTube channel.

14th June 2022 I 18:04 EET


Join us at the Monkey Bar in Helsinki to meet peers from the Festival.

Look for the blue posters, we will be there.

14th June 2022 | 15:41 EET


'We have to construct a lot of new homes, we hear everywhere! However, the construction prices are sky-rocketing at the moment. We need to be cost-effective, that is why we have to focus on green and social sustainability,' Bent Madsen, President of Housing Europe

'It is not only the bricks we are looking at within housing. We have to clearly understand what we are causing by social interventions when developing human infrastructure development, when working on spatial planning. This connection is what welfare state and housing policy need to be about.‘ Bent Madsen, President of Housing Europe says.

14th June 2022 I 15:21 EET


All of a sudden attendees from the audience started signing. Look back at the surprise and the flash mob by Chime, it was live our live on Twitter, together with the speech of our President, Bent Madsen.

14th June 2022 | 15:03 EET


The ISHF keynote speaker, Kath Scanlon from London School of Economics made the audience think about how to look at the level of success of buildings which would be the result of social housing policies.

There are two basic strands for evaluation of how good a building is

  • Design
  • Social policy sucess 
  • The way to go is to see how the design of a building or neighborhood specifically relate and contribute to the housing performance, or to the social situation in place

A holistic evaluation that looks at metrics, KPIs and place-specific stories is much-needed.

„We need to know how all social homes perform for their tenants. Not just the new ones, not just the special schemes, but all, including the old ones. And we need to learn about it from the tenants. There is no better way than by talking to the residents about how good their home is for them,“  Kathleen Scanlon, London School of Economics said.

14th June 2022 | 14:28 EET


„The systems created under the headline Social Housing must be constantly reviewed critically. Housing policy like any other sector of society should never become ineffective.“  Juhana Vartiainen, mayor of Helsinki

„When a city is successful, the number of people willing to live there is always higher than the Housing offer. This is the political reality we live with. There is a political agreement in our city to build more and faster. The city is growing and we aim to keep it up with a support of Housing policy.“ Juhana Vartiainen, mayor of Helsinki

14th June 2022 | 14:05 EET


"Objectives of Housing Policy are not just about homes, houses and construction. Housing policy in its complexity needs to contribute to sustainability of neighborhoods, consider mobility of labor force and add to smoothening of economic cycles“ Maria Ohisalo, Finnish minister of Environment and Climate Change

14th June 2022 | 13:09 EET


The event called "A moment in nature Oasis" is eactly what it says. Our colleague Dara Turnbull has today visited the organic roof gardens and meadows of the social housing building in Jätkäsaari. The housing includes two saunas (of course), as well as common gardens for residents, organic berry garden, and a wild meadow. Very inspiring. On Thursday, June 16, Dara is in charge of yet another tour, exploring how the Jätkäsaari neighborhood's development follows The Path to #Housing2030. Join him there!

14th June 2022 | 12:13 EET


Housing Europe is a proud co-organiser of RE-DWELL workshop, which tackles the issue of how to combine affordability with sustainability and quality of life in a collaborative way. Participants from all over the world have been split into groups that take a ‘hands on’ approach to the renewal of a neighbourhood bringing in different expertise to look at community participation, design, policy & finance. This is what we call a real innovative learning experience!

14th June 2022 | 11:42 EET


You could not start #ISHF2022 in other way than by introducing the Finnish Housing System. And it would not be the Finns, if they did not give us the big picture but also a little hint of something special, which shows how much advanced they want the system to be. Within the event Introduction to the Finnish Affordable Housing System organised by KOVA, one of the biggest Housing providers in Finland, we are learning about the enormous increase of focus on affordable housing that has been taking place in Finland within the past few years. We also hear a lot about very profound targeting of affordable and social housing provision. What we find interesting is the ability of policy makers to cooperate with one another but also with private sector in order to find the solutions, which most cost-benefit but also sustainable and in the long-term for Finland. The report on this event is going to be thrilling, you will find it here in couple weeks time!

14th June 2022 | 10:46 EET


It is time to go indoors at the National Museum to learn about how we can make our buildings greener.

Organised by Housing Europe and alchemia-nova, ‘Living walls, green façades, and green roofs – greening our building stock in the literal sense’ left attendees in no doubt that in Finland, a country in which 76% of the land is covered by forest, connection with nature is essential for peoples’ mental well-being.

Marja Mesimäki from Setlementti asunnot social housing association spoke about how green roofs and other green spaces are essential for the development of sustainable and just housing outcomes in Finland. She stressed that “access to urban green areas should be a basic service, the same as access to education or healthcare”.

Long Xie from the University of Helsinki presented his work on creating green façades and nature-based solutions, especially as a means to deal with stormwater. As well as providing a way to deal with adverse weather events, they provide green spaces for urban dwellers.

From Helsinki to Paris, Lucie Lescude from Paris Habitat took us on a tour of the green spaces, shared gardens, and urban agriculture projects (including saffron farming!) that are managed by, and for the benefit of, social housing tenants.

Paris Habitat now systematically implements green roofs in the new buildings and renovation projects. Finally, Gaetano Bertino, from Vienna-based alchemia-nova, one of Housing Europe’s partners in the HOUSEFUL project, presented the circular nature-based solutions he and his colleagues are developing. These circular solutions for treating water and waste in buildings will be replicated in additional social housing buildings as part of the EU-funded HOUSEFUL project Housing Europe is involved in. Get in touch to know more.

14th June 2022 | 08:48 EET


The first events of the International Social Housing Festival are kicking off in a bit, starting with an intro to the Finnish affordable housing system. Housing Europe is opening the discussion about the decarbonisation of homes through green walls and biodiversity. Both events are taking place at the National Museum.

A pleasant 20-minute walk to Helsinki City Hall and you can go to the info desks where Sara and Sara will hand you your badge.

In the exhibition area, our Innovation and Project Officer, Clara Mafé is taking all questions about a socially-inclusive Renovation Wave and New European Bauhaus. She is at the SHAPE-EU stand, a 2-year project Housing Europe is coordinating that aims at attracting investment to fund lighthouse districts; team up with local authorities for the uptake of new technologies; ensure energy efficiency at district-level by combining different sources of energy and respecting the rules. Remember to stop by.

13th June 2022 | 17:57 EET


ISHF 2022 info desks are at your service during the festival.

Remember to pick up your festival badge from the two info desks that will be available at Helsinki City Hall and the Helsinki Central Library Oodi.

Info desk opening hours:

14–17 June at 08:00–18:00 Helsinki City Hall

15–16 June at 08:00–18:00 Helsinki Central Library Oodi

Snap a picture with the badge and post it with the #ISHF2022 hashtag.

13th June 2022 | 15:41 EET


Visit some of the main venues - checked 

Meet our Finnish member, KOVA - checked

Pick up our very much-waited boxes with the 2022 winners of the European Responsible Housing Awards, the #Housing2030 report with tried and tested policies, the study dedicated to the cost-rental approach, all you need to know about SHAPE-EU, and all other materials - checked

In the meantime, our Innovation team and Research Director have arrived, too.

12th June 2022 | 17:49 EET


Bright skies and sun on our first day in Helsinki!

The communications and events team of Housing Europe arrived already on Sunday afternoon for the final preparations before the official start of the Festival on Tuesday.

10th June 2022 | 10:05 CET


To support networking and finding new connections before, during, and after the Festival, ARA has launched a Festival App for the participants. The digital application is an essential tool for everyone participating, this is where you can discover the festival programme, pin your sessions, access online events, and watch live streams. You will be also able to find information about Helsinki, see the list of partners, use the activity feed to post messages and photos to everyone in the app and, best of all, connect with other participants and send direct messages.

The app has two versions: a mobile app and a web app. The mobile version is available for download from Google Play (Android) or App Store (iPhone). The web app works in a browser. All registered participants have received instructions on how to gain access. If you are not able to find the email that explains how to download the application, please contact

9th June 2022 | 16:31 CET


Meet Judith Breemer and Pepijn Bakker because they are the vloggers of the International Social Housing Festival. Next week, you will see them speaking in front of the camera while Pieter the Roest is filming events and interviewing people, trying to make the best shots in Helsinki, edit them quickly, so you can have a look at a new vlog every morning on Housing Europe's YouTube channel.

Pepijn is the manager of the strategy team of Rochdale and the main organiser of the very first International Social Housing Festival back in 2017 in Amsterdam. Judith works as a policy advisor for Parteon and Pieter is a district manager at Pré Wonen. Three housing professionals in the Netherlands who are very passionate about ISHF.

Remember - one video a day on our YouTube channel.

Watch episode 0.