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The Social Housing Sector welcomes the EU Housing Partnership to Amsterdam

Highlights from the latest meeting of the EU Urban Agenda thematic partnership

Amsterdam, 22 June 2017 | Published in Urban
The meeting was hosted by housing corporation Eigenhaard, a member of our Dutch member, Aedes
The meeting was hosted by housing corporation Eigenhaard, a member of our Dutch member, Aedes

Housing Europe’s work to achieve better regulation, better funding and better knowledge on housing at EU level as partner of the EU Housing Partnership continues

On June 13-14, The EU Housing Partnership met in Amsterdam during the International Social Housing Festival. This meeting was special in that it was hosted by two major Amsterdam-based housing associations, Eigen Haard and Rochdale, bringing policymakers at the heart of the work of housing providers in a city with world-leading tradition in social housing.

Background: The partnership, led by Slovakia and the city of Vienna, is an initiative launched within the EU Urban Agenda - together with other seven thematic partnerships on key themes relevant to European cities. As affordable housing is a basic human right and fosters social cohesion, the aim of this Partnership is to contribute to creating access to adequate affordable housing by focusing on better regulation, better funding and better knowledge at EU level.

Housing Europe is currently leading the work on ‘general housing policies’, which includes aspects such as land use, spatial planning, housing renovation, energy efficiency, measures preventing speculation. In line with this work, we presented the state of play of a new policy toolkit on 'Affordable Housing in Cities', a practical tool created to inspire cities on actions they can implement to tackle affordability of housing, by presenting existing good practices.

For cities and citizens alike housing affordability is affected by a complex array of issues ranging from construction and maintenance costs, land prices, rent & mortgage regulation, supply & demand. On a broader societal level, affordability is impacted by the housing sector’s capacity to adapt to increasing social exclusion & poverty, changing demographics and climate and rapid urbanisation rates.

Innovative approaches to this complex housing challenge are emerging and the toolkit gathers these. The toolkit should speed up the broader uptake of successful initiatives and highlight the role of the EU. The toolkit was very much appreciated and it was agreed the project will be brought forward by the Partnership as one of the key areas of work.

Besides the toolkit, two other ongoing projects were presented: the studies on housing financing in 'old' member states and 'new' member states respectively. Both reports should be ready in the autumn 2017.

The meeting also included a very interesting presentation of the work of another partnership - the one on ‘Inclusion of migrants and refugees’: this gave the possibility to spot potential areas for common work, especially on identifying good practices of integration of migrants in an urban context. As part of the partnership’s work on better regulation, the partnership was also updated on the recent report of the Economic & Social Committee (EESC) on the Application of the Decision on public compensation for the provision of services of general economic interest (2012/21/UE).