Housing Europe News 📬 February 2022 
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ISHF2022 matchmaking session is bringing organisers together

The four-day programme of the third International Social Housing Festival (ISHF) is up on its website, walking you through events that aim at finding solutions for new-age youth housing, decarbonisation, homlessness prevention, circularity, data and AI for buildings, green roofs, responsible housing and a lot more. You will also spot exhibitions, a social housing tour, study visits, awards, a short film marathon, and networking opportunities. This first overview will give you a taste of what you can experience in mid-June and would ideally trigger some immediate mouse clicks on websites for plane tickets and hotels. The dates are 14-17 June 2022.

If you would have to choose a day or two out of the four, make sure that you join Housing Europe's Annual conference 'What if... we imagined Next Generation housing with the youth?' on June, 16th in the morning and the award ceremony of the European Responsible Housing Awards in the late afternoon followed by real-life networking and drinks. Our General Assembly for members and partners only will be held on Friday (June, 17th) in the morning.

📬Social, public, and cooperative housing colleagues can send youth housing projects they are proud of via email. Best practices will be included in news pieces, research briefings, and why not also featured during our annual conference?

For the organisers of events, the planning of the agenda will reach another level next Friday, March, 11th when the local host of ISHF, ARA will organise a matchmaking session from 9:00-10:30 CET (10:00-11:30 EET). In 90 minutes, event organisers will be able to meet and greet, get their questions on logistics answered, as well as to discuss whether they would like to join efforts or contribute to other sessions. Register here by March, 7th and reach out to our Communications Director, Diana Yordanova if you would like to know more.
One week to go to Housing Ministers meeting in Nice

On the eve of the ministerial meeting initiated by the French Presidency of the Council which will bring together the 27 housing ministers of the European Union in Nice on March, 8th, L’Union Sociale pour l'Habitat (USH), Housing Europe, the think-tank Confrontations Europe, and Maison de l'Europe will organise a web conference on March, 7th to discuss the role of the EU in the context of the affordable housing crisis affecting Member States. A Joint Resolution with 10 concrete asks led by Housing Europe, L’Union Sociale pour l'Habitat (USH), Confrontations Europe, Eurocities, and the International Union of Tenants (IUT) will be presented at 12:15 CET.

In the presence of the Commissioner responsible for the European Pillar of Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit and the rapporteurs from the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions (CoR), and the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) on the affordable housing dossier, the conference will bring on the table for discussion the objectives of the European Commission that influence the level of affordable housing in Europe. We will put housing in the context of the Recovery Plans, EU’s cohesion policy, climate-related directives, the Renovation Wave, the fight against homelessness, and the mechanisms that could be implemented to boost the necessary investments. Register for this session today.

On the following day (March, 8th), Housing Europe's President, Bent Madsen will travel further down to Nice to meet EU ministers and present the state of housing in Europe, as well as to debate on how investment in social and affordable housing in the EU could be boosted.

Stay tuned via #HousingEU2022FR and Housing Europe's online channels.
Housing Europe at French EU Presidency Urban Symposium

On February, 1st our Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards debated how we can rebuild the city on the city with the French minister of Housing, Emmanuelle Wargon, Margit Noll from Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe, and the President of Action Logement, Bruno Arcadipane. The roundtable 'Rebuild the city on the city: affordable housing and quality of land use for sobriety' took place in Paris and was organised by the French EU Presidency.

'There is a need for extensive funding instruments and systemic support at European level for housing providers to know what their resources at a local level are to be able to plan how far they can actually go with decarbonisation,' Sorcha Edwards said and provided a few examples where social housing is already introducing green roofs and façаdes that protect biodiversity. French Housing Minister, Emmanuelle Wargon also stressed that collaborative work is needed on improving the intrinsic quality of housing, such as size, light, access to external space; the affordability of homes, promoting social housing, and finding reliable investors; the wise planing of neighbourhoods.
Live from the Ministerial Conference on combatting homelessness in Paris

As you are reading, the French EU Presidency has just wrapped up a crucial meeting with Member States, European institutions, local and regional authorities, social partners, and civil society, including Housing Europe, that aims at encouraging and supporting actions for homelessness prevention. Today, this effort was translated through the adoption of the Action Plan of EU Platform on Combatting Homelessness. The initiative was launched by France's predecessor, the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU, and has been taken forward in 2022.

On behalf of Housing Europe, our Research Director, Alice Pittini welcomed and endorsed the work programme of the Platform which includes proposals by the sector for mutual learning activities. She expressed once again public, cooperative, and social housing providers' commitment to making a concrete contribution to tackling this common European challenge. She went on to say that housing providers in the social public and cooperative sector have identified as key area for capacity building the issue of cooperation between housing and social workers as well as the general integration of accompanying support services that can help people access and sustain housing tenancies on a permanent basis. An event on this topic will be organised during the 3rd International Social Housing Festival in cooperation with FEANTSA and Fondation Abbé Pierre because our sector believes this kind of partnership is key for the success of local initiatives, such as Housing First projects and the integration of social services is also an area which could clearly benefit from use of EU funding.

"We also strongly support the objective to have better data on homelessness and in particular we would like to see developed better knowledge on drivers of homelessness, what makes so many more vulnerable people fall through the cracks of our welfare and housing systems. Only in this way we can work on not only tackling existing homelessness but also better preventing homelessness in the long term including by promoting better policies for better and more social and affordable housing," Alice Pittini concluded.
Tackling homelessness in the spotlight this February

The chair of the Steering Board of the new EU Platform Combatting homelessness, Yves Leterme joined Housing Europe's Board meeting in February to discuss how the EU initiative and our sector could optimise collaboration and identify how the EU can influence the phenomenon with its arsenal of tools.

He stressed that Housing Europe is well-placed to provide feedback with the needs on the ground because of the close relationship between tenants or residents and housing providers. Members committed to contribute to the programme of the 2022 International Social Housing Festival, in cooperation with the City of Helsinki and ARA, bringing the view of the sector on the 'Right to Housing' theme via workshops, research briefings, optimising the success of Housing First, reporting on making use of available EU funding to tackle the issue. Housing Europe's network will build capacity through exchange and support national governments in the preparation of their national homelessness strategies. The work with FEANTSA and Abbé Pierre via the Housing Solutions Platform focusing on the identification of local best practices continues at full speed.

On February, 8th Red Cross EU's event 'Converging Approaches to Combatting Homelessness in Europe' also invited our Secretary General to share what the EU Platform on Combatting Homelessness could and should do to help foster better solutions to the problem and to imagine what is next after 2030. ‘'The EU Platform must be a multidisciplinary project for mutual learning, with quality trained personnel also on the social housing side. There is no place for naming and shaming but only for facing that action is required at every level and Member State.” Sorcha Edwards also added that there is a strong need for data on hidden homelessness but also on the drivers of it. ‘The #Housing2030 report led by Housing Europe and the UN makes a holistic analysis of what is necessary to have an effective housing system,” she said.
Resilience and Recovery in Austria and Belgium

In November 2021, Housing Europe launched its exclusive report 'Impact of the Recovery Plans on the Social and Affordable Housing Sector' that dug deeper into the content of this instrument designed to boost the economy after the hit of the health pandemic. As a follow-up to our comparative analysis, our Policy Officer, Edit Lakatos has also looked at the level of importance individual Member States have given to resilient and affordable housing.

We are starting with 'A' for Austria where social housing is not prominently mentioned in Austria’s Plan, but there are some measures the building sector as a whole and also the social housing sector will benefit from. 

The second EU country on the list is Belgium. The Member State provides more than €1 billion to renovate public and private buildings, including social housing, to improve their energy performance. It has been also proposed to provide around €900 million to boost the digital, language, and technical skills of vulnerable groups, job seekers to improve social inclusion.

Keep on reading.
Irish Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien in town

The Minister's visit to Brussels on February, 9th was an excellent chance for Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards and our research team, Alice Pittini and Dara Turnbull to discuss the state of housing in Europe and Ireland, to debate on tried and tested best practices in #Housing2030 and how can they result in working policy solutions, as well as to go back to the lessons learnt from our latest report on cost-rental housing, commissioned by the Housing Agency Ireland.

On March 8th, he and another 26 EU housing leaders will join the conference organised by the French EU Presidency of the Council of the EU in Nice, France. He plans on taking an active role and has the full support of our Irish members, the Irish Council for Social Housing (ICSH) and Co-operative Housing Ireland (CHI). 🍀 
ESRB: Financial stability risks related to residential real estate
have continued to increase in several countries

The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) - responsible for the oversight of the EU financial system - sent a warning to the competent ministers of Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Liechtenstein, and Slovakia for not having addressed vulnerabilities in the real estate sector. "The key vulnerabilities highlighted by the ESRB assessment are of a medium-term nature and, depending on the country, relate to rapid house price growth and possible overvaluation of residential real estate, the level and dynamics of household indebtedness, the growth of housing credit and signs of a loosening of lending standards," the press release reads. Austria and Germany issued new measures after each of them had received a document with recommendations that pinpoint not sufficiently addressed problems listed in ESRB warnings from 2016 and 2019.
The CEB has allocated approximately 30% of its annual financing
to social and affordable housing

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has been reacting to the ongoing housing crisis by supporting public, cooperative, social, and affordable housing and their tenants or residents for years. Housing Europe has witnessed many recent promising projects in Eastern Europe and beyond. In this interview with Jelica Vesic, the Communications Officer of the CEB, we are tracking progress and looking at the benefits that these loans have brought to people.
Conference on the Future of Europe – Housing Event 

You might remember that back in the December newsletter edition, we told you about the Conference on the Future of Europe during which the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) hosted a Housing Event, supported by the European Movement Ireland and The Housing Agency. The event was opened by the Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne. Expert speakers from a number of EU-wide organisations involved in housing provision, financial regulation, policy-making, advocacy, research, homelessness, and housing and disability rights across Member States, with clear proposals on housing in the future EU context. 

Housing Europe's Research Coordinator, Dara Turnbull presented key findings of our 'State of Housing 2021' report and the take of the sector on the ambitions of the EU Green Deal. You can re-watch his presentation at 01:13:00.
Read, watch, listen
Euractiv: Affordable housing under threat as large investors
buy up European homes

“You have a situation where you have finance basically determining your housing policy or finance determining the makeup of your city,” Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards said in front of Silvia Ellena from the Brussels-based media, Euractiv.

Euractiv also quotes the findings of the European Commission, saying that "house prices and rents in Europe have been growing over the past decade. According to Eurostat, since 2010, rents have increased by 16% and house prices by 38.7% across the bloc. When housing becomes an investment vehicle for large players, affordability tends to decrease."

"When houses become an investment, they are often left vacant or rented on short-term, causing a “hollowing out effect” in downtown areas and pushing people on lower incomes further away from the city centre," our Secretary General pointed out.

Housing Europe and #Housing2030 researchers Julie Lawson and Michelle Norris have teamed up once again to address not just the problems of financialisation but also how can we tame them. A spoiler alert: keep an eye 👀on our 'Making a house a home' podcast channel.
Looking for the Light - Sustainable Housing in Europe

As economies in the global north continue to grow, housing exclusion grows alongside it, creating greater amounts of inequality. More than 160 million people in Europe are struggling to afford housing, with more than half that number living in poor-quality housing. How is this problem continuing to worsen in some of the wealthiest countries in the world? 

The Swedish film director Fredrik Gertten and the former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing and Global Director of The Shift movement, Leilani Farha sit down with Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe to talk about creating evidence-based housing policy in Europe to undo the mess that’s been made and creating an environment where young people can be optimistic about the future. Listen to this PUSHBACK talk episode.
Was it more affordable for our parents to buy a home
than it is for today's generation?

The average house price in Ireland in the late '80s was €42,000. Adjusted for inflation, that is around €80,000 in today’s money. In contrast, the buyers of today spend €272,000 on average,' Housing Europe's Research Coordinator, Dara Turnbull finds out in an analysis written for the Irish TV channel RTE and its popular show 'Prime Time'.

On February 1st, he tuned in live to shine a light on the problem of a generation - unaffordable housing and what can we do about it. Re-watch the interview with him, starting at minute 20:35
The can-do approach to social value in housing

Back in 2020, Housing Europe's annual conference was dedicated to the social value of housing. The topic is coming back now thanks to the Wales Co-operative Centre which has started a new podcast series on social value in social care, construction, procurement, and housing. This is done in collaboration with Business News Wales. We think that listening to this talk would be 30 minutes worth spent.
500+ certified Energy Supporters and Mentors,
an Energy Poverty Alleviation Office opened its doors in Talinn

The POWERPOOR project is increasingly bearing fruit. At the beginning of February, The Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations (EKYL) opened the first Local Energy Poverty Alleviation Office in the country, in Tallinn. This represents a major step forward, as this option complements the effort of certified Energy Supporters and Mentors who have been visiting impacted households.

The current heating situation in Estonian homes makes this step a very timely one, as the EKYL Chairman, Andres Jaadla, said himself: “Rapidly rising energy prices have led to a situation where a large proportion of the population is at risk of energy poverty. It is estimated that more than half of Estonian housing needs to improve energy efficiency to reduce energy poverty in the future. There is a need to find solutions quickly to provide support to the most vulnerable, giving them the skills and knowledge to make their homes more energy-efficient.” He added that Estonia is launching the Building Renovation Marathon initiative, which will be supported by the Energy Poverty Office team in introducing opportunities for collective energy initiatives through apartment associations.

Housing Europe is offering multiple possibilities to its network to join the POWERPOOR movement. On February, 4th we held the very first EU training webinar when in 4,5 hours, about 45 social and affordable housing providers, municipalities, researchers, social and health workers tuned in to better understand the energy poverty phenomenon. They were provided with the right tools to support households on the ground and passed a test that officially made them certified POWERPOOR supporters and mentors.

The next EU training is happening on March, 25th. Get in touch with Housing Europe's Communications Director, Diana Yordanova to understand more about the opportunities these sessions provide for housing providers, tenants, residents, and cities.
HEART partners gathering for a last consortium meeting in Lyon

HEART - a Horizon 2020 project Housing Europe is part of - promised to transform retrofitting through the usage of an adaptive all-in-one 'renovation toolkit'. Its potential was already evident in one of the pilots sites. In early February, our Innovation and Project Manager, João Gonçalves, and Research Director, Alice Pittini were able to see the preliminary results on the ground - a social housing rental site managed by Est Métropole Habitat in the outskirts of Lyon. The toolkit, which includes (aesthetically pleasing) prefabricated insulation panels, photovoltaic roof tiles, and an intuitive monitoring system, was able to transform an inefficient multi-family building into a nearly Zero Energy Building. The difference in temperature, sound insulation, and comfort was significant between the pre-renovated and post-renovated apartments. In the summer, provided there is enough sun, the building block will be producing energy instead of using energy from the grid.
Justice in social housing:
Towards a people-centred energy renovation process 

Distribution, recognition, participation, capability, and responsibility - these are the five interrelated justice dimensions that a paper published in the framework of our EU-funded project, Drive-0 highlights. Empirical data were collected by interviewing members of tenant associations and employees from social housing associations in the Netherlands on their experiences with, and views on, justice aspects in the energy renovation process. The data analysis shows that the multidimensional justice perspective can be applied to implement a broader and more pluralistic perspective on justice principles. A recommended read by our Innovation and Project Officer, Clara Mafé.
In 2022

Download our calendar of events for 2022

Coming up in March

2nd March
My home is an asset class by the Greens

7th March
Affordable housing crisis in the EU: why and how should Europe act?

8th March
Housing Ministers meeting in Nice

11th March
ISHF Matchmaking session by ARA

16-17 March
Housing Europe Working Committees

25th March
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