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Housing Europe News 07.03.2016
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Housing for All! This is the message that will be echoed in all Housing Europe activities until the end of the year, since our flagship campaign is now online. The launch event may have taken place in Brussels on February 22nd bringing together our members, representatives from the EU institutions and other partner organisations as well as The Guardian contributing housing editor, but the work is already under way. May sure not to miss any important information, read our demands and suggestions and help us spread the word. 

At the same time, we've been in many different places over the last weeks and we bring you insights and reports from the World Sustainable Energy Days in Austria, from the potential revival of social housing in Greece but also from an encouraging meeting at the UN Habitat HQs in Kenya. Plus, the most important policy updates from Brussels regarding the EU economic governance, the EU urban agenda and more. As usual lately, quite a few funding opportunities may inspire a project submission from one of you. Check them out and contact us for more details.

In our virtual library don't miss the first social housing dictionary in France, a couple of really informative studies as well as the latest URBACT report.

Last but not least we invite you to welcome one more member in our team, our new Project & Membership Officer, Laura Gies.

Quick Links  Before starting to read, please allow us to give you a tip:
Go to the homepage of housineurope.eu and log in, so that you are able to access all members only links (indicated with *). This guide will help you.

 
News
Housing is the key for the future of our society
The launch of the “Housing for All” campaign
 
Housing Europe welcomed its members and its partners in its offices in Brussels for the launch event of the “Housing for All” campaign that will be the compass for advocacy work throughout the year.

What should be the priorities for housing policies in the future? Which best practices can be inspiring for countries and cities in transition? On February 22nd Housing Europe presented to representatives of its member organisations and to partners from the political scene in Brussels its “Housing for All” campaign.

After evaluating the “State of Housing in the EU” in 2015, Housing Europe highlights the importance of “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.

Read more about the launch event

Βοοkmark the campaign webpage - www.housing4all.eu 
Εngage on social media #housing4all
Together in the start of a challenging year (*)
Highlights from the first Housing Europe Working Committee meetings 2016

 
Housing Europe members have gathered for the first time in 2016 in Brussels for the Working Committee meetings. The integration challenge deriving from the refugee crisis, successful business models for social housing in times of welfare state reforms, SGEI and state aid, circular economy and the Energy Union and funding opportunities for urban projects were only some of the points on a full two-day agenda that also included the launch of the Housing for All campaign.

Here are some of the highlights of the meeting on February 22nd and 23rd. The detailed reports will be available soon.

Read more
Contributing to a fair, green energy transition
Housing Europe at World Sustainable Energy Days 2016

 
The World Sustainable Energy Days, one of the largest annual conferences in this field in Europe, offers a unique combination of events on sustainable energy. Housing Europe Deputy Secretary General, Julien Dijol participated in the expert dialogue session on "what works best to accelerate building renovation".

The panel discussion focused on how to increase the renovation rate in the building sector, including nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB).  Housing Europe highlighted ways to achieve this, while maintaining affordability for the tenants.

See Julien’s presentation and find out more about the event
Getting Greece back on the social housing track?
Housing Europe in Athens at the launch of the national strategy for social inclusion

 
The Technical University of Athens (TEI) and the National Centre for Social Research (EKKE) took over the task to draft on behalf of the Greek government a national strategy for social inclusion that can respond to the demanding challenges the country has been facing over the last years. The strategy presented at a conference on the premises of the University of Athens on February 24th sets a common framework of principles, priorities and measurable targets aiming at the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all interventions at national level.

Housing Europe was invited at the conference for the launch of the national strategy for social inclusion in Greece. Michalis Goudis delivered a presentation, offering an overview of the state of housing in the EU as well as a few ideas that could useful to the decision makers in a country that is going through an extraordinary financial and refugee crisis.

Read more
How internal market principles might affect SGEI
A recent European Court of Justice ruling

 
The European Court of Justice precised the application of the services directive to the SGEI in the case of a chimney sweep.

If article 2 of the directive 2006/123 excludes clearly social services relating to social housing, other kind of services provided by Housing Europe members which could be considered as a SGEI are concerned. The case is also interesting to understand how SGEI are affected by the internal market principles.

Read more on our website
European Parliament adopts report on Annual Growth Survey 2016
Housing Europe invites members to react to the country reports

The report of Sofia Ribero (EPP, PT) has been adopted in plenary by 404 votes to 201 with 35 abstentions on 26 February. The Rapporteur highlighted the importance of the social pillar in the European Semester and expressed that greater efforts and structural investments were necessary to reach convergence in the EU.

Follow the European Parliament Semester Alliance hearing.

Check out also the country reports for this European Semester and send us your feedback.
 
Read the full article on our website
Investment Plan for Europe: new guidelines on combining European Structural and Investment Funds with the EFSI
 

The Commission, in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB), explains how to best combine the funds. A brochure presented earlier this month is aiming to help local authorities and project promoters make full use of the opportunities of combining the EFSI and ESI Funds. These two instruments have been designed in a different but complementary way in terms of rationale, design, and legislative framework. They reinforce each other.

The brochure provides an overview of the possible combinations of EFSI and ESI Funds, either at project level or through a financial instrument such as an investment platform. It will be enriched with the experience drawn from concrete cases and feedback received from stakeholders.

Check out the new guidelines
CEB approves new loans for social projects

The Council of Europe Development Bank has approved at its latest meeting held in Paris four new loans totaling € 535.1 million. The CEB will finance inter alia the construction projects and the upgrade of structures to meet safety and accessibility standards in health and education in France as well as the construction and renovation of affordable rental housing by social housing providers and municipal corporations in Poland.

Read more
Social housing associations tackle the energy poverty challenge
Energy efficiency project development under Horizon 2020

 
For the first time under Horizon 2020 Energy Efficiency, social housing companies engage in project development.
Several projects supported under H2020 address energy poverty through low cost measures that focus on behavioural change, and some of them target social housing either through energy saving measures for new buildings or through refurbishment with energy performance contracting models.

Although there is still no universally agreed definition for the concept of energy poverty, it is often defined as a situation where individuals are not able to adequately heat, or provide other required energy services in their homes, at affordable cost.

Find out more

Stay tuned with Horizon 2020 related developments
World Habitat Awards 2015-16 winners announced

The two winners have been chosen from submissions from around the world. And although thousands of miles apart from each other both projects demonstrate how empowered communities have transformed people’s lives by creating affordable and safer homes for those in need. Canopy and Giroscope are joint winners.

The first UK based winners for over a decade. They work in cities in the North of England and are pioneers in a movement of UK housing providers called ‘Self Help Housing’. These housing charities train homeless and vulnerable people to renovate abandoned properties and bring them back into use. The completed houses provide low cost homes for homeless local people who are homeless or in housing need.

Caño Martín Peña Community Land Trust in Puerto Rico is the other winner. The Martín Peña Channel was once a waterway that ran through the middle of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan. A community land trust (CLT) is helping transform an informal settlement around this polluted and flood prone tidal channel into a sustainable community. It provides a new model for improving informal settlements in cities without them then becoming unaffordable for the original residents.

Read more
N.Ireland: Solar savings for tenants

Nearly 600 of the homes managed by our Northern Irish member organisation, NIHE have had solar panels installed as part of the largest domestic renewable solar PV installation.
The £5m contract, which was signed between NIHE and Saliis Ltd, is based on the ‘rent a roof’ model and has resulted in tenants seeing their savings adding up.

Noel Rice, NIHE Energy Conservation Manager, said: “Fuel poverty remains a major issue for many in Northern Ireland and this initiative can make a significant contribution to combating this amongst our tenants as their fuel costs are lowered. We are delighted with the progress of our solar panel scheme and the positive feedback to date from tenants.”

Read the full article on the NIHE website
EESC Opinion on The future of the EU Urban Agenda seen from the perspective of civil society
 
At its plenary session, held on 17 and 18 February 2016, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted the opinion on “The future of the EU Urban Agenda seen from the perspective of civil society”. The key conclusions can be summarised in 2 points:
It is important to ensure that civil society organisations (CSOs) will be an equal partner in discussions and implementation of the UA.

The EESC sees working in partnerships as an effective way- EESC suggests looking at public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a model for financing urban projects
As far as recommendations are concerned, the EESC suggests opening an invitation to organisations that might want to share their experiences and ideas on UA themes and could join some of the partnership meetings. Action plans should be the subject of open online consultation. This would ensure that all the relevant stakeholders can contribute to their content and that all interests are covered.
Results of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI)–end of February 2016

The European Commission published the results of the 2016 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The findings show that Member States have made progress in areas such as connectivity and digital skills, as well as in public services, since the publication of the Commission's Digital Single Market Strategy last year.

Connectivity affects the housing sector, too. The survey concludes that better connectivity may be observed, but insufficient in the long-term: 71% of European homes can access high-speed broadband (at least 30 Mbps) compared to 62% last year. The EU is on the right track to be totally covered by 2020. The number of mobile broadband subscriptions is rapidly increasing, from 64 subscriptions per each 100 Europeans in 2014 to 75 today. The EU needs to be ready to meet future demand and to provide the next generation of communication networks (5G). This is why the Commission will present a review of EU telecoms rules to address technological and market challenges by the end of the year.

Read more
Andres Jaadla visits UN Habitat Headquarters in Kenya

Andres Jaadla, Chairman of the Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations (EKYL) and Board member of Housing Europe, visited UN-Habitat Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya on February 16, 2016.

At the meeting with Christopher Lalande, Housing Unit Leader at UN-Habitat, and Fernarda Lonardoni, Housing Policy Adviser at UN-Habitat, developments of housing and housing policy in Europe and globally were discussed. Andres Jaadla gave an overview of the activities of Housing Europe and EKYL, and introduced cooperation with the UNECE Housing and Land Management Unit. The Chairman of EKYL explained the housing situation in Estonia, the role of apartment associations and EKYL in the housing reforms and the international cooperation network of EKYL today.

Participants agreed on the further exchange of information and cooperation.

Read more
Housing Europe welcomes its new Project & Membership Officer!
 
Laura Gies is the new Project Officer of Housing Europe, replacing Alessandro Cesale who started working at Eurhonet. We have asked Laura to introduce herself:

“I am a political scientist, having earned my Master’s Degree at ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Before joining Housing Europe, I worked at the European Parliament and in civil society, mainly on social and employment affairs. I am looking forward to working with you all!”

Willkommen, Laura! Welcome!

 
Articles & Publications
Social Housing 101: USH presents a dictionary that introduces the French social housing sector

With more than 1,000 terms and just under 600 pages, this dictionary defines common words and abbreviations, current or frequently used in social housing.

The reader can find many acronyms and abbreviations as well as words, notions, laws, institutions, partners related to social housing. Written in simple and accessible language, its objective is to facilitate understanding of the concepts of social housing for all uninitiated or newcomer.
Do you want to dive into the French Social Housing system? Here’s your companion!

More information (in French)
URBACT report: Sustainable Regeneration in Urban Areas
 
Cities all over Europe need to raise their game if their urban policies and actions are to manage the staggering risks imposed on them by environmental degradation within and beyond their boundaries. How does this translate into urban regeneration?
To answer this question, a group of experts, urban policy-makers and practitioners from across Europe worked together in the URBACT capitalisation work stream "Sustainable Regeneration in Urban Areas" since June 2014. Through a series of inspiring articles, interviews and city case studies, this report provides thought-provoking insights, state-of-the-art thinking on environmental limits and concrete examples of how cities in different parts of Europe are tackling these challenges.

You may read among other things an interview with Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards on ‪housing renovation & urban regeneration (p.28).

Download the publication
Eurofound study: Role of the social partners in the European Semester

The report explores the involvement of peak social partners in the European Semester at EU and national level during the period 2011 to 2014. While their role in the European Semester is not set out in the European economic governance provisions (the so-called ‘Six-Pack’), the European institutional bodies view the two sides of industry as being key to the development of the Semester, and have called for their closer involvement.

At the same time, it examines the role played by the European Commission and the national governments in communicating the country-specific recommendations. The study also looks at the views of the social partners themselves.

Download the publication
Energy Efficiency: Practical Approaches to the Building Renovation Challenge

The paper sets out the results of a workshop organised in December 2015 in Brussels by the Horizon 2020 Energy (Buildings) team of the EASME in conjunction with BUILD UP, the European portal for energy efficient buildings and some 40 EU-funded projects supported under Horizon 2020, 7th Framework Programme (FP7), Intelligent Energy Europe programme, and other regional and cross-border programmes such as the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF).

Read the report

 
Projects
Shaping a more cost effective housing policy -
Housing Europe takes part in discussion about the future of housing policies
 

Housing Europe is partner in a EU PROGRESS project on the reform of housing policies. This project, led by the Flemish Housing Agency and KU Leuven, aims at reviewing the different elements of housing policies that could be improved and making some recommendations to policy makers for a more cost effective housing policy.
 
On 24 February a group of stakeholders representing the social housing sector and the private developers (UEPC) discussed the following questions:
  • What is the most important housing goal of each stakeholder and why; can consensus be reached about goals?
  • Which policy instruments do you see (most) suitable to reach this goal?
  • What are according to you cost effective housing policies?
Read more
New URBACT Call for the creation of Implementation Networks
 
URBACT will launch a new call for the creation of Implementation Networks. Overall, these Networks are supposed to support cities with the implementation of integrated sustainable urban strategies/action plan. The expected outcomes of these networks are enhanced implementation of integrated strategies/action plans for sustainable urban development (monitoring, timely delivery of actions, etc.), learning and recommendations for EU cities.

A launch event will take place in Brussels on 23 March 2016. You may already register online
Securing a near zero and positive energy future for buildings in Europe
The Zero Plus project and the contribution of OPAC38

 
Buildings are central to the EU's energy efficiency policy and will be key towards a fair, green energy transition. At the same time, innovation in reducing consumption usually comes with rather high costs. The Horizon 2020 project "Achieving near Zero and Positive Energy Settlements in Europe using Advanced Energy Technology" (in short, ZERO-PLUS) meets the challenge to develop a comprehensive, cost-effective modular system for Net Zero Energy (NZE) settlements and to implement it in a series of case studies across the EU.

The end goal of this project is to provide the market with an optimized, integrated, readily implementable system for NZE settlements that will significantly reduce their costs.

Read more on BUILD UP

 
Events
ENHR Call for Papers 2016

The European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) has launched its annual call for abstracts. Submissions are welcome for consideration for the European Network for Housing Research Conference which will be held in Belfast on the 28th June – 1st July 2016. This meeting represents an excellent opportunity to present original research, unique reports as well as quality improvement projects.

The abstract submission process for ENHR 2016 will have two steps:
Step 1: Submit an abstract for review according to the guidelines set out.
Step 2: If the abstract is accepted (providing there are no revisions) a full paper must be submitted.

Important Dates
Deadline for Abstract Submission: 15 March 2016
Notification of Abstract Acceptance: 6 April 2016
Deadline to submit a full paper: 3 June 2016

More information
European Social Innovation Competition

The Social Innovation Tournament promotes the generation of innovative ideas and rewards initiatives that fight against social exclusion. It covers projects in a wide range of fields –from education, health care and job creation, to new technologies, new systems and new processes.
All projects compete in a General Category, and projects addressing the topic of health with a special emphasis on childhood obesity will also compete in the Special Category.

Winning projects are awarded 1st and 2nd Prize EUR 50 000 and EUR 20 000 respectively. Project teams may also win vouchers entitling projects to benefit from mentoring services.

Find out more and apply by March 15th!
USH event: How to develop your cooperation without applying public procurement?
 
The new provisions of the Public Procurement Directive will enter into force in domestic law on 1st April 2016. These provisions clarify the exclusion from the scope of the public procurement the cooperation called "public-public" and establish a stable and favourable legal framework for the development of cooperation between housing agencies in fulfilling their common missions public service.

In order to prepare housing professionals for the new era, Union Sociale pour l’ Habitat organises a “professional day” in Paris on March 29th.

Find out more in the dedicated page USH has launched (in French)
8th Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns

The 8th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns will be hosted by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, the Basque Government, Bizkaia County Council and Bilbao City Council, with the involvement of Udalsarea 21 - Basque Network of Municipalities for Sustainability, and the support of Araba County Council, Gipuzkoa County Council, Donostia/San Sebastián City Council and Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council.

It will bring together local and regional government representatives, European and international institutions, multilateral organisations, members of the research community, business leaders, and civil society.

More information
FEDARENE is launching the Roger Léron Award 2016

FEDARENE, the European Federation of Agencies and Regions for Energy and the Environment calls for nominations for The Roger Léron Award that aims to acknowledge a long-standing overall contribution to sustainable energy (not a single project) at the regional and / or local level, in Europe, by an individual or organisation.

The Award is awarded each year to an individuals or organisations for outstanding merit in a range of fields which includes, but is not limited to:
•    Promotion and awareness-raising amongst the public,
•    Implementation of energy efficiency in private and public buildings,
•    Utilization of renewable energy sources etc

Find out more and apply
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