Housing Europe News 16.11.2015
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What are the implications of the refugee crisis for our member organisations? What should be the position of the Union the Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris? What is the most effective way to use EU Funding opportunities to make the homes of our future better? Based on Member Feedback, Housing Europe has been working to produce concrete responses to these diverse challenges.

In collaboration with the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE) we will be organizing in the beginning of next year a working session that will provide input for an own initiative report on migration and integration.

On November 30th, the day that COP21  is due to kick off in Paris, Housing Europe will be presenting its own contribution to the fight against climate change under the title “Start @ Home”. This update of the “Copenhagen Offer” will showcase on the one hand “what our homes can do” while it will highlight “what our homes need”, i.e. how can policy makers help public, cooperative and social housing providers in the fair green energy transition they have already started.

Come with us to France to check out an encouraging example of EIB funding for social housing, to Northern Ireland for the NIFHA annual conference, to Czech Republic where the new Social Housing Concept has been presented but also overseas where the U.S. have been experiencing worst rental affordability crisis in history.

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Housing Europe takes action on the refugee crisis

“1 in every 122 people is now either a refugee internally displaced or seeking asylum … It is a global problem”, said European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker addressing the G20 leaders in Antalya.

Addressing the ongoing and escalating refugee crisis has been the priority in the EU agenda for a few months now. EU leaders have met many times, but so far they have been unable to come up with adequate solutions to this extraordinary situation. Housing Europe has been gathering evaluations of the mid- to long-term needs on the ground from members and has intervened to the public debate attracting political attention.

As a result, Housing Europe will be organising in collaboration with the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE) policy briefing sessions that will feed the own initiative report (INI) that will be drafted by the committee. Based on its members’ inputs Housing Europe has already identified 4 key issues that have to be tackled as soon as possible:
  1. Emergency – innovation in field of temporary housing (use of existing buildings/alternatives to regular stock)
  2. Medium & Long term Housing Needs including social issues (the impact of new influx)
  3. Social acceptance of immigrants
  4. Integration: Local experience which shows what can work on the ground
The event is going to take place in the second week of January 2016 and Housing Europe members are also invited to actively participate.
France: 500 million € by the EIB to the SNI group to fund the construction of 12,000 intermediate dwellings

The EIB is lending 500 million Euros to the SNI group to help finance 12,000 intermediate housing units by 2019. Announced at the USH annual conference last September, the partnership was officially signed on 3 November 2015.

The EIB support to the social housing sector could increase in the coming months since a long-term subsidized loan mechanism is still being discussed with Action Housing, and another one is under consideration by ESH to add up to a number of 35,000 social homes provided in the next 5 years.

Read more on our website
EU funding and Social Housing

1 million households in renovated dwellings thanks to the Structural Funds?

The European Commission estimates that ESIF (European Structural & Investment Funds) programmes are apparently successful in serving energy efficiency targets, offering a total of 13.3 billion Euros from the European Regional Development Fund and the Cohesion Fund for energy efficiency in public and residential buildings, leading to almost 1 million households with renovated dwellings and reduced energy bills for public buildings.

At the same time Housing Europe reports that 77% of operational programmes allow investment in housing. However, the challenge remains to mobilise at local level and make this happen.
Juncker Plan: a centralised advisory hub for projects

As part of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) and as a measure that will allow projects to access EIB funding or support from the EFSI, the European Investment Advisory Hub can provide useful advice for project promoters in various fields including housing.

Find out more 
Workshop on Future Challenges of Social Housing
“Time to make things happen”

The City of Vienna together with the International Union of Tenants (IUT) held an event reviewing the impact of EU policy on housing ahead of the European Commission preparation of the revision of the “Almunia” package, which is scheduled for 2017.

After chairing the workshop group on structural funds, Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards said:  
The European Commission estimates that over 1 million homes will be refurbished with the help of ESIF 2014-2017. Housing Europe reports that 77% of operational programmes allow investment in housing. Now the challenge is to tackle regulatory obstacles, mobilise at local level and make this and more happen.”

Read more on our website
Europe’s housing shortage to exacerbate refugee crisis
A debate on the ResearchGate platform

An estimated 8000 refugees enter Europe every day in search of a new home. But as winter approaches, Europe’s housing shortage could leave them on the streets, separated from their families, and with little chance of employment.

Alice Pittini, Research Coordinator for Housing Europe, and Jenny Phillimore, Director of the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (University of Birmingham), discuss the future of housing for refugees, asylum seekers, and the general population.

Read their exchange
3rd meeting of the Structured Dialogue with ESI Funds' partners group of experts (*)

How can the European Social Fund and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived be used effectively to support refugees?

The third Ad hoc meeting of ESF and FEAD Managing Authorities with stakeholders from relevant sectors took place in Brussels on October 29th and Housing Europe was present as part of the expert group. The outcome of the meeting was a report in response to the refugee crisis recalling how the available Union funding can be used to address the challenges it raises.

Read more and download the report on our website
Making finance serve climate objectives
Civil society calls for a model shift

As the countdown to the Climate Conference in Paris (COP21) has already started, Finance Watch organised on November 5th an event in the French capital that focused on the funding aspect of the climate objectives. A statement was generated as a follow up that was co-signed by several civil society organisations, including Housing Europe.

Ηeads of states are asking large banks and private investors to pay attention to climate objectives. The outcome of their calls is not certain because, after 20 years of deregulation and financialization, banks and investors are highly focussed on short-term profit considerations. As short-term returns in the real economy are often linked to fossil fuel use, the real challenge of this demand is not only about ‘how much’ but rather about ‘which model’ of finance to promote: public authorities must point the way towards a sustainable economy that imposes its values and needs on finance. This is a prerequisite for the financial sector to regain citizens’ trust.

In our view, a structural approach to the task of financing climate objectives must include these five priorities…

Read more on our website

Articles & Publications
Northern Ireland: Charting our Future
NIFHA Annual Conference 2015

More than 150 delegates and 20 exhibiters gathered at the Sleive Russell Hotel in County Cavan, Ireland for the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA), a long-standing member of the Housing Europe family. This is NIFHAs premier annual event, designed to give members and key stakeholders an opportunity to hear from politicians, policy makers, financiers and other sector experts on the challenges and opportunities for social housing providers in Northern Ireland and further afield.

This year’s conference was on the theme “Charting our Future”, a deliberately upbeat message despite the unprecedented challenges facing social and affordable housing providers, not just in Northern Ireland but across the EU as a whole.

John McPeake, board member of NIFHA and Housing Europe reports on our blog
Czech Republic: The new Social Housing Concept
Housing Europe Observatory presents an overview of the new Social Housing Concept 2015-2025 in Czech Republic. Our member organisation, SCMBD comments on the latest developments.

Last October the Czech Parliament approved the “Social Housing Concept of Czech Republic 2015 – 2025”. This Concept is a document identifying the most significant issues in social housing in Czech Republic and defining the measures that have to be implemented in the next 10 years to achieve the goals set in the field of social housing. Next steps regarding this Concept will be the preparation of a new social housing Act that is expected to be finalized in mid-2016 and to come into force in the beginning of 2017.

Read more on our website
US: The worst rental affordability crisis in history

There are more people renting a place now than in the history of the United States.
43,267,432 dwellings with 110,175,847 residents. Unfortunately, we’re also in “the worst rental affordability crisis that this country has ever known,” according to the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Home ownership is at a 48-year low. Meanwhile, 2004-2014 saw the strongest 10-year growth in rentals since the late 80s.

Get the full picture in this infographic 
World Habitat Awards 2015-16 finalists announced

BSHF announced the ten finalists for the 2015-16 World Habitat Awards.

From environmentally-focused communal living in Colombia and the UK to capacity building in Malawi, this year’s 10 World Habitat Awards finalists include a wide range of innovative and inspiring practices.

The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation as part of its contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Two awards are given annually to projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems.

Find out more about each of the 2015-16 World Habitat Award finalists

Horizon 2020: €194 million for Energy Efficiency in 2016 and 2017 (*)

The Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-17 was officially adopted on 13 October 2015. The total budget for the Energy Efficiency Calls amounts to approximately €194 million for 2016 and 2017. EASME manages the Energy Efficiency Calls for proposals under Horizon 2020's societal challenge 'Secure, clean and efficient energy’. See all priorities in one infographic.
At the same time the first Energy Efficiency topics of the Call 2016 with a deadline of 21 January 2016 are now open on the Participant Portal.

Find out more and Visit our EU Funding Portal to stay up-to-date.
2 new projects for Housing Europe

Staying committed to the principle of cooperation and of knowledge exchange Housing Europe announces the two latest initiatives it will be involved in, ensuring the widest dissemination possible but also that the findings will be turned into policy recommendations.

TRANSITION ZERO will make Net Zero Energy (E=0) refurbishments a market reality in the UK, France and The Netherlands. Energiesprong brokered a deal between housing associations and builders to refurbish 111,000 houses to E=0 levels in the Netherlands of which the roll-out will be further supported. Building on the same methodology and the inspiring example, a similar innovation trajectory will be facilitated in the UK and France through two deals of 5,000 houses per market and building a pipeline of more demand.

More information
ABRACADABRA does not offer a magic recipe but is based on the prior assumption that non-energy-related benefits play a key role in the deep renovation of existing buildings. The central goals of the project consist of an important reduction of the payback time of the interventions, a strengthening of the key investors’ confidence, increasing quality and attractiveness of the existing buildings’ stock and, finally, reaching concrete market acceleration towards the Nearly Zero Energy Buildings target.

More information
Italy: The sweet taste of a LEMON
Or how “Less Energy can create More investment OpportuNities” in the social housing sector

Two social housing assocations of the Emilia Romagna Region, ACER Reggio Emilia and ACER Parma are aiming to accumulate a total of 15,29 million Euro energy investments in 622 private and public social dwellings. The LEMON project will develop an innovative, bankable and aggregated sustainable energy investment scheme.

Check out its key aspects on our website

“Start at Home”
A Housing Europe BUILD UP Webinar

Housing Europe presents the contribution of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing providers to mitigate climate change.

On the day that COP21 kicks off in Paris, Housing Europe is organising in collaboration with BUILD UP a webinar to present the contribution of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing providers to mitigate climate change.

The webinar, addressing policy makers, housing associations’ managers as well as representatives of various interlinked sectors, will be the occasion to follow-up the Housing Europe’s “Copenhagen Offer” by assessing the work done over the last five years in terms of dwellings refurbished, energy saved as well as a series of other measurable outcomes.

Find out more and register online
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
Young architects invited to design the homes of the future

Architecture students from across Europe have the opportunity to see their designs for accessible housing for older people and for those promoting the cooperative concept take a step closer to reality thanks to two competitions.

The European Federation for Living (EFL) is encouraging final year undergraduate and postgraduate architecture students to enter its competition to design homes of the future for an ever increasing elderly population across Europe.

AAA Architetti Cercasi on the other hand is an award for young architects/planners that  was launched in 2008 by Federabitazione, one of the main federations of housing cooperatives in Italy and member of Housing Europe, and aims at discovering young talents and disseminating the cooperative housing model.

Find out more about both competitions on our blog
ESH European Workshop: How to Mobilize Europe? 
Royal Library, Brussels, 17 November 2015

As every year, ESH, the French social housing companies will have their annual European Workshop in Brussels on how Europe can be an asset for French social housing providers. Long term investments, SGEI and public procurement will be among the topics to be discussed with EU officials. The State of Housing in Europe, based on the report published by Housing Europe, will also be among the highlights.

Check out the agenda and register
Conference: Civil society, cities and regions preparing for the COP21 and beyond
Brussels, 19 November 2015

The civil society, cities and regions expect that necessary ambitious, fair and binding decisions will be adopted at the UNFCCC COP 21 in Paris in December 2015 in the form of a "universal deal". In the recent years the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) have been very active in the field of climate change, following the global climate negotiations.

On 19 November 2015 the EESC and the CoR will organise a conference in Brussels that will aim to demonstrate the mobilization of these actors for COP 21 and their concrete action on climate as well as promote strong messages contributing to the shaping of the global climate agreement.

9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
EESC/CoR, Rue Belliard 99, JDE51, Brussels
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