Housing Europe News 02.11.2015
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If you think of the year as a long course run, then November may probably sound like the bell lap to signal that we’re entering the final round. As the countdown to the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) has officially started, we are working on our contribution that will update our Copenhagen Offer. Stay tuned to learn more about that…

At the same time, using our members’ expertise we have responded to the EPBD public consultation that is just a part of energy related policy developments expected in 2016. See what else to expect in our analysis of the European Commission Work Programme for next year.

We have also thought of creating a new column on our blog, curated by the Housing Europe Observatory. In “Data Stories” we are going to let the Data speak, making use of powerful visuals accompanied by short comments from our researchers.

Do you want to know what happened in New York at the presentation of the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing to the UN General Assembly? A guest blog by marc Uhry from Fondation Abbé Pierre provides with an overview of the discussions and calls for joint action…

Finally, don’t miss the report of a field visit in Rottedam’s Afrikaanderwijk, organised by our Dutch member, Aedes, to see how powerful, if not life changing, can be the cooperation between a social housing association and the active residents of a (theretically) deprived neighbourhood…

Do you want to take the fast lane?  Before starting to read, please allow us to give you a tip:
Go to the homepage of and log in, so that you are able to access all members only links (indicated with *). This guide will help you.

Citizens-Consumers, Adequate Finance, housing in the energy grid and the EU legislation

Housing Europe contributes to the public consultation on the implementation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) and gets ready for 2016 legislative initiatives on energy issues.

Alongside with many of its members Housing Europe has sent a contribution to the European Commission’s consultation on the Energy performance of Buildings Directive. Key element of the EU energy policy, the EPBD has had substantial impact on the retrofitting and new construction of social housing, since it sets the minimum requirements in terms of energy performance.

Based on the experience of its members and the findings of the project NZEC, Housing Europe has put forward some elements that should be taken into account when the European Commission analyses the implementation of the Directive and in future intiatives in the field of energy  (see work programme 2016).

Read and download the full response on our website
Social standards and energy prioritized by the European Commission
Ηousing Europe Analysis of the Work Programme announced for 2016 (*)

In its work programme 2016, the European Commission announced a series of initiative that Housing Europe will closely monitor.

We have prepared a brief analysis that also highlights 2 initiatives with potential impact on housing that are supposed to be published just before New Year.

Read more
New Blog Column: “Data Stories”

"Data Stories" is the new column on our blog, curated by the Housing Europe Observatory. Infographics tell the stories that shape the housing sector in Europe.

Read the first edition about the Housing Cost Overburden Rate in the EU on our blog

UK: Innovation in the energy sector

Energiesprong expands in the UK

Nine social landlords, a number of contractors (Mears, Wates Living Space, Willmott Dixon and Beattie Passive) and organisations including the National Housing Federation and Energy Saving Trust in June formed a company called Energiesprong UK to run pilots to test the innovative technique initiated originally in the Netherlands.

Under the scheme, homes are refurbished to a pre-specified energy performance. Landlords retrofit the properties very quickly over 10 days to a ‘zero-energy’ standard by bolting offsite-manufactured cladding to the exterior of the homes. This means the homes are built to the amount of energy needed by tenants.

Check out the blog post that triggered the expansion of Energiesprong in the UK
Places for People has announced it has set up an energy company

The housing association will sell energy to commercial customers across Britain through a new non-profit company called Places for People Energy.
The landlord says domestic customers can also switch to Places for People Energy, and claims energy bills will be around £200 a year cheaper compared to the ‘big six’ providers.
Places for People Energy follows the launch of Our Power, an energy company founded by 35 social landlords in Scotland with a loan from the Scottish Government, in July.

A consortium of nine social landlords in the north-east is also progressing plans to set up an energy company.
France: USH takes action for Climate Goals and Energy Transition

Within the framework of its 76th annual conference, just a couple of months before France hosts COP21, Union Sociale pour l’ Habitat presented the Act under which its member organisations will intensify their actions to combat, from their side, climate change and energy poverty.

Check out the commitments of the French Social Housing Associations
Commissioner Thyssen replies to Parliamentary question about Social Housing

Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility replied to a question posed by Italian MEP, Fulvio Martusciello (EPP), stressing the Commission’s intention to protect diversity of social housing in member states, referring to the SGEI Protocol.

“‘Member States are responsible for the design and implementation of measures directed at homelessness and housing policies, including social housing. The scope and organisation of social housing vary considerably from one Member State to another, depending on the history and culture of public intervention in each Member State. This diversity is respected at EU level."

At the same time she repeated the intention of the Commission to support housing as part of the social innovation objective of ERDF: "the Commission (…)  supports social innovation including in relation to housing."

See the question, in which Housing Europe’s definition of social housing is used

See Mrs. Thyssen’s response
Italy: UrbanPromo 2015- triggering joint actions to stimulate public housing supply
The 5th edition of Urbanpromo Social Housing took place on 15 and 16 October in Turin, Italy. The event was organized by INU (National Institute of Urban Planning) along with URBIT Urbanistica Italiana and was dedicated to social housing operators focusing on regeneration projects with the aim to trigger economic development whilst promoting social cohesion and integration. More than 100 participants took part in the debate including representatives from Federcasa, Confcooperative, Legacoop Abitanti, ANCI, Acre, INU, SiTI and Piedmont Region, as well as many housing experts from all across Italy.

Read more to find out about the extraordinary intervention for public housing announced as part of the new Stability Law by Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. 
The Challenge of ageing population will be the theme of the 1st Horizon Prize for Social Innovation

The challenge of an ageing population has received the biggest support in an open, public vote run by the European Commission, and becomes the topic of the first Horizon Prize for Social Innovation. Based on this result, the Commission, in cooperation with the European Investment Bank Institute, will launch in early 2016 a Horizon Prize that rewards the innovator or team who comes up with the best solution to address the challenges and opportunities of ageing and to improve the quality of life of senior citizens. Their breakthrough will receive €2 million from Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation funding programme.

The aim is to engage communities to work towards a common goal, spur interest in a particular issue, attract new, dynamic innovators to an area, mobilise additional private investment for research and innovation, and stimulate novel, replicable solutions to the grand challenges for the benefit of European citizens.

For more information
Cities and regions invest in the Energy Union- Some takeaways from the OPEN DAYS 2015

Local authorities are now facing the urgent socio-economical challenge to ensure secure, sustainable, affordable and competitive energy for their communities. The Energy Union aims to address the current challenges of the integration of variable renewable energy. Local authorities should facilitate the roll-out of policies and planning for the energy transition. Low carbon investments can implement climate policies, as well as the generating of local employment through utilising Structural and Cohesion Funds and innovative financing models involving citizens and business participation.

The debate showed how regional-local chains can support sustainable development and job creation.

Check them out on our website

Articles & Publications
When neighbourhoods generate solutions: A field visit in Rotterdam's Afrikaanderwijk

Housing Europe participated in the field visit "Field truths: Social and housing investments for better living conditions in urban communities" organised by Aedes and by its member association, Woonbron in the neighbourhood of Afrikaanderwijk in Rottedam.

Michalis Goudis reports from an area that's supposed to be the most deprived in the Netherlands but apparently also a region that stands for its social innovation...

Read the full story on our blog
UN to Lead a Global Movement for the Right to Housing

Marc Uhry, Coordinator for European Affairs at Fondation Abbé Pierre, has attended in New York the presentation by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing of her report to the UN General Assembly and follows up with a plea for a global movement for the Right to Housing.

Ready to join?

Read his guest blog post
10 minutes with Jarmo Kuosa, CEO of Kunta-asunnot Oy/ Municipal Housing ltd

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we head to the capital of Finland.

In Helsinki, the CEO Kunta-asunnot Oy/ Municipal Housing ltd, Jarmo Kuosa introduces our Finnish member organisation and identifies the key characteristics and challenges of the affordable housing sector in the country. Plus, as usual, he shares some tips that help him strike a good life-work balance.

Read the interview on our blog
DG Regio publication highlights housing projects as best practices with
The autumn edition of "Panorama", the publication issued quarterly by DG Regio, focuses on the Energy Union. The lead article, on p.p. 4-7, details Regional Policy's contribution to the realisation of the EU's new Energy Union package, through increased investments in the low carbon economy and sustainable energy projects.

Housing projects in the UK, in Estonia and in France are highlighted as best practices.

Download “Panorama” in PDF format (available in EN, FR, DE and EL)

Mapping of Ηousing in 7 countries
Housing Europe Observatory contributes to the ENLIGHTEN project

Housing Europe is partner in a Horizon 2020 project called ENLIGHTEN. In order to deal with a range of difficulties in current times of crisis, the EU has both created new modes of governance and restructured existing ones. This ambitious and broad research project seeks to contribute to a better understanding of the state of affairs by offering a novel framework to answer the question ‘More Europe – less Europe?’.

To support the research work, Housing Europe Observatory has agreed to work on a 'mapping' of the housing sector in 7 countries, namely France, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK. The aim of this exercise is to provide up to date figures (housing conditions and trends in housing markets), and to identify the governance system, relevant actors and significant changes over the past few years that show an impact of the global financial crisis.

Read more

3rd Europe Housing Forum by Habitat for Humanity – Europe, Middle East and Africa
18-20 November 2015, Berlin

Europe continues to deal with an unforgiving economic situation that has pushed many of its citizens into poverty. The crucial issue is whether Europeans can afford living in Europe.

The 3rd Europe Housing Forum will stimulate discussion and serve as a launching point for practical recommendations to help demonstrate how housing can play a crucial role in successfully improving social and economic conditions across Europe. The event will also look at how change can happen by taking an integrated approach—government policy, private sector investment and social inclusion—to successfully develop future communities.
This will be an opportunity to firmly set goals, inspire new solutions, and deliver practical recommendations that will provide citizens with decent, safe places to live and work.

Housing Europe President, Marc Calon will deliver a presentation at the “Sustainability Workshop” of the conference.

Find out more and register online
Workshop on Future Challenges of Social Housing
Friday, 13 November 2015, 9:00, Vienna House, Brussels

The City of Vienna that has always put a lot of emphasis on the issue of social housing, being a role model for many other cities across the EU is organising a workshop on “Future Challenges of Social Housing in Europe”. Are there new perspectives for the financial and legislative framework of the EU? This meeting aims to offer participants from different sectors the room to exchange their experiences with social housing in order to collect arguments and ideas for a common strategy to advocate for affordable housing in Europe.

4 sessions are foreseen in the format of a “world café”, all facilitated by experts from the different fields. Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards will be moderating one of them:
  • Financement models in different cities, regions and states (tbc)
  • The role of EFSI and the EIB for social housing, other EU-funds (Facilitator: Sorcha Edwards, Housing Europe)
  • Housing and the country specific recommendations (Facilitator: Susanne Bauer, Vienna, Chair of Eurocities Working Group on Housing)
  • The impact of EU-state aid / competition policy on social housing (Facilitator: Barbara Steebergen, IUT
Register to save a seat by 10 November
Call for papers on “Homelessness and Social Inclusion”

Are you a researcher, scientist, academic, policy maker or scholar interested in contributing inThe Special Issue of the Open Access Journal by Cogitatio Press on “Homelessness & Social Inclusion”?

Themes/research questions to be addressed in the special issue include:
  • The impact of welfare policy on homelessness; are homelessness policies socially inclusive?
  • Conceptual and theoretical interpretations of homelessness and social inclusion from different disciplinary perspectives; how has our understanding of homelessness and social inclusion developed?
  • Revisiting causes and nature homelessness in the post-2008 austerity period; what have been the impacts of austerity?
  • Innovative and inclusive solutions to homelessness: how have multiple exclusion homelessness and homelessness prevention been addressed?
  • Inclusion and empowerment of homeless people in research and policy/service development; what has been achieved?
Authors interested in submitting a paper for this Special Issue are asked to consult the journal's editorial policies and to send their abstracts (about 200-250 words, with a tentative title) by email to the lead Guest Editor, Isobel Anderson by 16 November 2015.

More information
Launch of the report “An Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe” by Fondation Abbé Pierre with FEANTSA
19 November 2015, Brussels

Fondation Abbé Pierre and FEANTSA present in partnership with la Strada (Support Centre for Brussels’ homelessness sector) the latest study on housing exclusion in Europe.

Check out the agenda of the event that is part of the Week of the Brussels’ homelessness sector activities.

Online Registration– subject to seat availability
Experts’ Workshop: Towards an energy efficient European housing stock
18 November 2015, Brussels

Building stock models to assess refurbishment processes and plan future energy consumption are important to monitor progress on national and European level. This workshop will present scenario analyses conducted in 16 European countries to track the implementation of energy saving measures and their impact on consumption in practice.

Leading experts and representatives from the European Commission will discuss methods of building stock monitoring, scenario analyses of trends and perspectives of energy performance and CO2 emissions. The discussion will also highlight the necessary supporting policy actions.

Agenda of the day
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