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Housing for All

Better EU Policies for more and better homes

Brussels, 22 February 2016 | Published in Energy, Urban, Economy, Social

A Housing Europe Campaign

After evaluating the “State of Housing in the EU” in 2015, Housing Europe launches today the campaign “Housing for All”. At a time when many European countries have to adapt their housing policies to the changing needs, Housing Europe invites EU institutions, member states, local authorities and housing providers to work together with the overall aim to boost the supply of affordable homes for liveable communities.

The President of the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, Marc Calon sets out the key principles of the initiative:

“We have to work together with decision makers to produce more flexible and evidence-based policies that on the one hand protect the increasing numbers of the vulnerable groups of the population while on the other hand make space for innovation in housing delivery”.

More than six years after the financial crisis started spreading, there are more people without a home, while there are not enough affordable homes available in most European countries to meet the increasing demand. This new reality is being further challenged due to the migration flows of the refugee crisis. How can this trend be diverted? Action is needed at all levels.

The campaign will generate concrete policy suggestions on issues that directly or indirectly affect the housing policies of all member states

  • migration
  • energy
  • urban policy
  • housing finance and
  • EU regulation

What can be done?

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The campaign aims to initiate a participatory process that will link up practitioners with policy makers. The conclusions of the campaign will be announced at a joint conference with the Housing and Land Management Committee of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in September in Geneva. However, three main measures that can change the course of the housing policies are already clear:

A. More public, cooperative and social homes should be built

An increase in public expenditure on affordable housing construction should lead to a development of affordable rental options, especially in countries with a strong bias towards home ownership. A favourable tax status combined with more flexible standards will give construction a long desired push.

B. Increase the quality of existing homes

Support towards renovation of affordable homes through innovation and skills may give citizens, communities and housing providers the opportunity to be part of the energy system, encouraging further conventional and alternative ways to finance refurbishment of social housing.

C. Make the cities more inclusive

The role of cities and local authorities is crucial in the current context to better integrate refugees, homeless and other vulnerable groups using a range of instruments around sustainable and permanent housing. It is important for the urban environments to address the challenge of independent living, so that the elderly and people with disabilities can stay in their homes for longer.
An integrated approach that encourages the deeper cooperation between local stakeholders will be of key importance for the success of this transition.

The campaign will conclude at the Habitat III in Quito in October, feeding into the final resolution of the UN world congress that will set out the New Urban Agenda for the next 20 years.

The European Responsible Housing Awards

A key component of the campaign is knowledge sharing that will provide with examples that work well on the ground. The second edition of the European Responsible Housing Awards will showcase innovative best practices from housing associations across the continent, promoting local, social and environmental sustainability, good governance and responsible HR management.

Applications will open on March 14th