Housing Europe News 05.10.2015
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October kicks off with a series of initiatives we have either taken or joined in Brussels.

Our President, Marc Calon outlines the position and the proposals of Housing Europe regarding the refugee crisis, suggesting that a long-term approach is needed with affordable housing in its core.

We have also joined Finance Watch and other European civil society organisation to express our concerns regarding the announcement of the Capital Markets Union (CMU). 

As always, we have been following all housing-related policy developments, from the adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to the Right-to-Buy scheme in the UK and from the budget bill in Sweden to COP21 and to the launch of a non-profit energy supplier in Scotland. 

Are you interested in 3D printing, integrated services or EU funding opportunities? There's something for you here, too...

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.

Tents in football fields: that is not Europe

Integration is what Europe should be aiming for; decent housing is the key for the success of the process.

Housing Europe President, Marc Calon claims that Europe needs permanent solutions for the refugee crisis and explains how affordable housing associations across the continent can be the key in addressing the emergency situation.  

“Pushing back boats from piers, setting fire to refugee camps, or turning a blind eye to poor and helpless people: that is not Europe” said President Juncker addressing the European Parliament Plenary during his State of the Union speech. I couldn’t agree more. Installing tents in football fields expecting that this could be a shelter for people who fled war and terror: that is not Europe, either. The refugee crisis is putting into test the very qualities of our continent and let’s face it, our response has not been adequate so far. The main reason for that is the illusion that this is a crisis that it’s going to end at some point. But the truth is that the issue is here to stay.
Large scale migration towards and within Europe is the new norm for four reasons...

Read the full article on our website
Who will benefit from the Capital Markets Union?

A group of European civil society organisations led by Finance Watch are concerned over the launch of the European Commission’s proposed Action Plan on the Capital Markets Union (CMU) initiative.

Housing Europe shares the concerns and supports the #CMU4who initiative.

Read the joint statement issued on Wednesday, September 30th.
Housing in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 

The United Nations summit for the post-2015 development agenda was held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York and formally adopted the Sustainable Development Goals. Housing is a key element of Goal No 11 for Making Cities and Human Settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. In the first article of it is stated: “By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums”.

This Agenda as a whole is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. The UN recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.

Find out more about the AgendaCheck out all Sustainable Development Goals
Why housing associations should sign up to the voluntary Right to Buy deal
Last week, I stood on stage at the NHF annual conference with communities secretary Greg Clark and sought the consent of our members to put forward a voluntary offer to the government on Right to Buy Many people have been in touch to ask me why. And it’s a fair question.

NHF Chief Executive, David Orr makes the case by providing four concrete reasons:
  • Reason 1: More homes
  • Reason 2: Helping people on to the housing ladder
  • Reason 3: More homes to rent (and buy)
  • Reason 4: Protecting the power of independence
First meeting of the CSR Expert Group (*)

The Housing Europe CSR Expert Group met for the first time in Brussels on September 22nd paving the way for a common sector-specific European sustainability code.

Check out the report of the meeting as well as the next steps
Sweden: Government invests in housing sector
Housing a key priority in the 2016 Budget Bill
The Swedish Government presented its 2016 Budget Bill on 21 September. Investment aid for new rental properties and aid for municipal authorities to speed up residential construction are two of the proposals made in the Government’s budget, which will contribute towards achieving the target of 250,000 new homes by 2020.

The Social Democrat-Green coalition is also proposing new aid for energy efficiency improvements and the renovation of multi-dwelling buildings and outdoor environments.

Read more on our website
Scotland: Non-profit energy supplier launches
Housing Europe member, SFHA supports the idea

A new energy supply company has been launched which aims to cut millions of pounds from bills in some of Scotland's most disadvantaged communities. Our Power Energy is the first in the UK to operate on a non-profit distribution basis. It has been founded by 35 organisations including some of Scotland's largest housing associations.
It plans to be selling heat and power to tenants in 200,000 homes across Scotland by 2020. The consortium expects to save its members up to 10% on their household utility bills, compared with standard commercial tariffs. It will enter the market at the end of 2015 as an Ofgem-licensed supplier of gas and electricity.

Read the full story on BBC

David Stewart, Policy Manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said:
“The SFHA fully supports this innovative proposal by a group of Scottish housing associations to provide energy to their tenants. We know that fuel poverty is at a record level, with 38% of housing associations tenants experiencing fuel poverty. This figure is principally a result of inflation busting rises in energy prices in recent years. While housing associations have made significant investment in energy efficiency measures, making their homes the most energy efficient in Scotland, the investment has struggled to keep pace with rising fuel prices – Our Power represents a new approach.
“We know that the poorest in society often pay the highest price for energy, with customers on pre-payment meters paying a higher tariff than those paying by direct debit. Our Power aims to remove this differential charging and build on the high levels of customer service that housing associations provide.”
COP 21: environment MEPs adopt mandate for Paris climate talks
The environment committee said on Wednesday that Parliament's delegation to the COP 21 climate talks in Paris must call for a 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a 40% energy-efficiency target and a binding 30% target for renewable energy.

In a resolution adopted by 55 votes to 5, with 8 abstentions, the committee also says a share of the EU's carbon market allowances should be earmarked for climate finance and the aviation and shipping sectors should initiate measures to curb their emissions by the end of 2016.

Read more on the European Parliament website

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with Ara Nazinyan, Executive Director of ASBA in Armenia

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we head to Armenia to introduce you to the Executive Director of our member organisation ASBA, Ara Nazinyan.
Read the interview on our blog
3D Printing: Innovative Approaches in Italy & Sweden

Based out of Italy and recently showcasing their latest development -- a 3D printer that squirts out mud -- at Rome's Maker Faire, WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) may be the future of housing in many parts of the world where earth is the most abundant, and affordable, local building material around. The aim is to ease the labour-intensive process that building with earth requires, with an automated, digital fabrication process, using one of humanity's oldest building materials. 

Read more

Some Swedish students could find themselves living, and studying, in 3D-printed residence halls floating on the water thanks to SwimCity, a project that aims to increase the supply of housing for young people by creating sustainable living on water.
Belatchew Labs is an experimental studio based in Stockholm. The Labs take on projects where it is necessary to solve urban problems with creative thinking, innovative technologies, and new materials. For SwimCity, the designers sought to keep the carbon footprint of the construction as small as possible, while addressing the problem of overcrowding by positioning the residential structure over the water.

Read more
Publication: Integrated Services at local level
The first in a series of EUROCITIES publications around the issue of 'Social Investment in Cities' it presents good practice examples from 10 major European cities on how they integrate services at local level in areas such as migration, youth, childcare, unemployment and homelessness.
Read and download in PDF format
Book - Into the Mainstream: Rethinking Public Services for Diverse and Mobile Populations
Amid rapid economic and social diversification of Europe's urban areas, the concept of "mainstreaming" immigrant integration—the idea that integration policy requires a whole-of-government approach and a shift away from group-targeted policies—has swept through policy circles and become embedded in policy parlance at the highest levels.

In response to these trends, the UPSTREAM Project sought to examine how governments at all levels are contending with new integration challenges and whether this can be described as a move toward the "mainstreaming" of integration policies.

This final report is a synthesis of the five country case studies from the UPSTREAM Project and examines how the five countries and the European Commission are employing the idea of mainstreaming, and whether it has helped improve how public services address mobility and diversity.

More information

New Horizon 2020 Calls are open! (*)

New housing related calls are just launched under Horizon 2020. The five calls give great opportunities of renovation and energy cost reduction solutions.

Learn more about them from the EU funding section of our website. 
Updates from PROF/TRAC Project

Housing Europe took part in the second PROF/TRAC Project Consortium meeting last 29 and 30 September in Ljubljana that was a good opportunity to take stock of the work done so far, such as the mapping of the current skill gaps of professionals and the review of relevant resources available to be used to feed the content of the tailor-made training modules to be addressed to architects, engineers and housing managers.

The consortium discussed also the programme of the so called “Train the Trainers” workshop that will take place in Prague in February 2016; the aim of this three-day event is to provide key personnel – the PROF/TRAC ambassadors – with the skills needed, so that they will then become teachers and transfer the knowledge to their peers in the targeted countries via dedicated workshops and/or webinars organised within the respective sectors.

For further information, please visit
Data tools supporting improved energy performance of buildings - Evolution and perspectives

The evolution of data tools that support improved energy performance of buildings follows the broader development of data management and processing, a field which has expanded rapidly in recent years. This article reviews the various types of applications currently available.

The first part of this article focused on software-only tools. Among other things, we observed how new applications can evolve hierarchically, e.g. the use of web-based tools for the generation of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) facilitates the development of aggregate databases of EPCs and these in turn support realistic models of energy consumption for entire cities and regions.

This second part looks at state of the art applications which also integrate hardware tools. Due to the cutting edge nature of such applications, fewer commercial options may be widely available. Major contracting firms may also use custom-developed solutions, integrated with their other tools and processes for design and construction.

Read more on BUILD UP

Read more Energy News on the updated Power House nearly Zero Energy Challenge Website

Last minute registration for the Working Committees (*)

The Housing Europe Working Committees will meet again after summer in the third week of October in Brussels.
Monday 12th October
14:00 – 16:00 Energy, Construction, Standardization
16:30 – 18:00 Urban affairs
Tuesday 13th October
09:00 – 11:00 Economic, Finance and Internal Market
11:30 – 13:00 Social Affairs
14:00 – 15:30 Housing Europe Observatory

Check out the agenda and register now online!
EAPN Annual Policy Conference: Can the Semester deliver on Poverty and Participation?
Brussels, Friday October 9th

On Friday 9th October, EAPN will hold its annual policy conference where it will present its Assessment of the 2015 National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and European Semester, and debate together with 150 stakeholders including 80 EAPN national members, decision-makers and other stakeholders key questions: What needs to be done to ensure that the European Semester deliver on its Europe 2020 commitments to reduce poverty and promote participation?

Key speakers confirmed include Commissioner Thyssen, Outi Slotboom, DG ECFIN, Raquel Lucas, Cabinet of Commissioner Dombrovskis, Sergio Prieto, MEP & Tom Dominique, Chair of the SPC. The conference will open with a video by Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament.

Find out more
New collaborative business models for home refurbishment to nZE levels
Brussels, October 15th

Innovative business strategies for successful collaborations for the renovation of single family houses were developed in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Norway and The Netherlands. Companies relevant in the construction process such as financing, consulting and planning right through to implementation were involved. This conference will present quality assurance options to increase customer confidence, per-country cooperation models and structures for successful collaboration.

Presenters will answer questions such as: What was the main reason to step into the nZEB renovation market? How were the collaborative enterprises found? What are the business ideas and the value proposition? What are the recommendations for other companies willing to step into the nZEB renovation market? The findings were developed in the EU-funded project COHERENO, undertaken by Dena, TU Delft, Segel, VCB, Sintef, BPIE, Vito, PHP and Ogut. The partners will present conclusions for policy-makers and construction stakeholders during this afternoon conference in Brussels.

Download the agenda of the event
AGE Platform Annual Conference: EU role in protecting older citizens’ social & economic rights
Brussels, November 20th

With older people organisations’ leaders, academics, industry and EU representatives, we will explore how - using a rights-based approach in policies and grass-root practices - the EU institutions, Member States and local actors can support older people’s right to age in dignity.
The conference outcomes will feed into the campaign “Towards an AgeFriendly EU” and will contribute to the creation of age-friendly environments across Europe supported by a strong EU Silver Economy.

NGOs, non-for-profit and for-profit service providers and industry are invited to join the conference and present their own initiatives in the exhibition space, showing to our audience how they contribute to enhancing the quality of life of older people, reinforcing their ability to age in dignity and facilitating their active participation in society.

* Registration fees for the conference are 150€/person.

Check out the agenda
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