Housing Europe News 01.02.2016
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As we head into the second month of 2016 things start moving much faster in Brussels. Financing is probably the keyword that summarizes most developments that we have gathered in this edition of our newsletter. Many funding and networking opportunities keep emerging and we make sure that you do not miss any of them. 

One has to definitely highlight the change of course of the EIB which has signed its first ever direct agreement with a housing corporation in the Netherlands. We invite you to check out the new European Investment Portal that will be online in the coming days as well as the latest initiatives in Germany, the UK and beyond. 

Our "10' with" blog column is back and this time we head to "cooperative" Italy. We share with you our interview with "F" magazine of FNARS and the innovative approach of a project in London that proves that homes are key for cities to cope with climate change.

After having a look at our selection of articles & publications and at our project related news, don't forget to save the date and register for the first working committee meetings of the year and the kick-off of the Housing for All campaign. The agenda is now available.

Finally, we have to say
arrivederci to two great colleagues, Alice and Alessandro. Read about their future plans, their memories at Housing Europe and send them your wishes!

Quick Links  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.

The European Investment Project Portal (*)
An opportunity to reach potential investors worldwide

The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is a web portal enabling EU-based project promoters to reach potential investors worldwide. As the central portal for investment projects across Europe, registration on the EIPP will boost the visibility of your project and will offer access to a large network of investors, consultants and advisory services that can help you to structure it and finance it.

EIPP is expected to be launched officially within February 2016.

In order to qualify, projects must be:
  • Worth at least EUR 10 million
  • Expected to start within three years of their submission to the EIPP
  • Promoted by a public or private legal entity established in an EU Member State
  • Compatible with all applicable EU and national laws
Key themes include:
  • Research & Development
  • Energy
  • Traffic Infrastructure
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Environment & Resource Efficiency etc.
Why is EIPP needed?
Various investors have claimed that the lack of a transparent forward looking pipeline of EU invest-ment projects had acted as a barrier to investment in the EU, especially in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Such investors have commended the EIPP approach of establishing a common project promoting platform, where they could see pro-jects across different EU countries, sectors and sizes alike. Some multinational investors have experienced increasing liquidity in recent years without a corresponding increase in investment opportunities.

More Guidelines as well as the Application form are available online. 
Netherlands: Portaal Wonen receives loan from EIB

Portaal housing corporation and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed a financing agreement. This is the first time that the EIB has entered into an agreement with a housing corporation. It is making a 200 million € facility available that will be used to make existing housing more energy-efficient and build new energy-neutral homes.

With this loan, Portaal will finance a substantial part of its investment programme that fits in well with the EU's urban renewal and sustainable communities objectives as well as with the EIB's objectives.

The investment programme consists in the first instance of more than 40 small-scale sustainability projects in the regions where Portaal operates and will therefore involve nearly 5 000 homes.

Read more
Germany: 2 billion Euros for the construction of affordable homes

The Federal Government would like to mobilise the capital from private investors in order to boost construction of affordable houses – not only for the refugees. Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for housing (SPD) calls for a public financial support double as high. Together with the Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble, she also wants to create tax incentives in the form of special depreciation, however, limited to the neighbourhoods where there is no affordable housing. This could be decided by the government already in February.

At the same time KfW (German Promotional Bank) has just announced that it is going to increase its aid to 1 billion euros for the construction of houses for refugees. The aid is in the form of subsidies with zero interest rate and reserved only for municipalities to enable them to invest in the construction refugee shelters.

Read more
Energy Efficiency Directive: first feedback from Housing Europe’s members

While the European Commission has launched a consultation on the implementation of the Energy Efficiency Directive, Housing Europe have started to gather information from their members on the implementation and its consequences on the housing sector.

Building upon the findings of the NZEC project, Housing Europe, in a similar approach to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) in 2015, sent a contribution to the consultation and will continue gathering information at its Working Committee on Energy end of February in order to have a meaningful position when the European Commission will propose legislative changes to the current EU energy laws later in the year.

Check out our draft response to the EED consultation
Last week, the Vice President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič gave a speech on energy poverty on the occasion of the launch of European Policy Center respective Task Force. Housing Europe is a member of the taskforce that aims to come up with policy proposals on what EU can do regarding fuel poverty. At the same time we contribute to the European Commission stakeholder group on vulnerable energy consumers.
UK: NHF warning on social housing benefit cap

Tens of thousands of tenants in sheltered housing, including frail older residents, domestic violence victims and people with mental illness may become homeless as a result of benefit cuts, landlords have said.

Government plans to cap housing benefit for social rented properties from April will put an estimated 82,000 specialist homes under threat of closure, leaving an estimated 50,000 vulnerable tenants who are unable to work without support.

David Orr, the chief executive of the National Housing Federation said: “If this cap applies to specialist housing, tens of thousands of vulnerable people will be unable to afford the cost of their home and care."

Read the full story on The Guardian
Good practices under EaSI funded projects (*)

The European Commission published its third monitoring report in which it gathers good practices of projects across Europe dealing with working conditions, employment, social affairs and inclusion. This monitoring is part of the EU's Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI). 

The aim is to form a basis for policy recommendations, which may be useful to the policy-maker designing or implementing policy interventions in this area.

For example, a collaboration between Austria, Croatia and Slovenia on skills forecasting was considered good practice as a specific software for unemployment forecasting was created. The predications can for instance be used to plan enrolment quotas for educational programmes.

Check out the case studies and visit the EaSI section on our European Funding portal
Using the Digital Union to fight social and regional inequalities
Housing Europe took part in a seminar organised by the European Parliament group of the Socialists and Democrats on January 28th aiming to examine how can different types of inclusive and accessible digital services help reduce inequalities.

All speakers stressed that the Digital union is not only about jobs, goods and services but also about making the government more effective (e-government), getting services accessible for people with special needs such as elderly and disabled and making the European society more inclusive.

In our intervention we have pointed out that digital inclusion is necessary. For us its core value is to ensure that personalized technologies are available, for instance smart technologies, e-health apps, in homes of All and special attention is given to elderly and disabled people.

Read more
Italy: A struggling town looks to refugees for revival

In Italy, the job of settling and integrating asylum seekers belongs to local governments. Mayors across the impoverished southern region of Calabria, and especially in Satriano, are embracing this responsibility in a big way. Local officials in the town are enthusiastically situating refugees in temporary housing, lining them up with jobs and assisting them with their applications for asylum.

At its peak in the 1950s, the old town of Satriano had about 3,800 residents. Today it’s down to about 1,000. If it shrinks much more, schools, health clinics and the local post office may have to be closed.

“The presence of refugees can be an opportunity to repopulate the town,” says Satriano Mayor Michele Drosi. “It can create a virtuous cycle.”

Embracing outsiders comes easy for the residents of Satriano because many migrated themselves in their younger days. In the 1950s and ‘60s, hundreds of locals left for Switzerland, Germany and Argentina to find work.

Read more on the Urbact webpage

The Housing Europe team is seeing some changes with Alice Pittini taking a one-year career development break at the OECD in Paris, and Alessandro Cesale leaving to take over as the new Director of Eurhonet, also based in the Housing Europe Centre, which means that he will still be a close partner.

We have asked both to share their strongest memory in the course of the years. Read what they've told us.
Best wishes and un grande abbraccio, Alice and Alessandro!

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with Rossana Zaccaria, National Coordinator of LegacoopAbitanti
Meet the faces behind housing providers across Europe

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we head to Italy. Rossana Zaccaria, the National Coordinator of LegacoopAbitanti introduces the organisation and identifies the challenges for the cooperative sector in the country. Plus, as usual, she shares some tips that help her strike a good life-work balance.

Read the interview on our blog
Interviewed by FNARS about social housing in Europe

Our ‪Research Coordinator, Alice Pittini was interviewed by “Réseau FNARS” for their "F" magazine about social housing in ‪Europe.

FNARS is a national umbrella organization that federates 900 non-profit and public organizations that manage, all together, nearly 3000 centres and services in the field of social inclusion. FNARS members provide social support in a holistic approach of people difficulties (housing issues, employment, justice, health, addictions, etc.) with an objective of access to fundamental rights.

More than 600,000 people with social difficulties are hosted, every year, in FNARS network. FNARS’s expertise is based on a holistic approach of social work including housing issues, employment, family, youth, health/addictions, migrants, justice, cultural rights, the non-taken of rights, etc. and support to services providers in term of evaluation and quality approaches, legal framework, public financings, etc.

Read the interview in French
Rent affordability in ‪Berlin mapped by its metro stations

A new interactive, created by by property portal Immobilienscout24, uses Berlin’s U-Bahn and S-Bahn networks to map the average rent of one-bedroom apartments across the city, stop by stop.

The map also reveals how affordability in different Berlin neighbourhoods has changed over the years.

Read more

REMINDER:  Invitation to stakeholder dialogue
"Towards a cost effective housing policy in Flanders and Europe"

Housing Europe is partner in an 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.

To feed the dialogue between researchers and housing practitioners/stakeholders, we would like to ask you first to fill a short questionnaire on housing policies. The responses to the questionnaire will be considered as individual responses from experts and not a reflection of the position of the organisation they come from.

The results of the questionnaire, combined with the presentation of the findings of the research, will be the basis for a discussion aiming at reaching consensus among experts on some of the most desirable outcomes and instruments for a successful housing policy.

This  will take place on the 24th February from 9:30-12:30, followed by a lunch, at the Fondation Universitaire in Brussels just after the Working Commitee meetings. Register to the event and the lunch by February 10th.
BUILD UP portal revamped

BUILD UP, the European portal for energy efficiency in buildings, in which Housing Europe is a contributor, has been revamped, offering improved navigation, a new layout and mobile-friendly design.

To mark the launch of the improved website, BUILD UP is holding an online web-streamed event on 2 February.

Please find the agenda and speakers here
Climate Proofing Housing Landscapes - A project in London proves that homes are key for cities to cope with climate change 

Through its Climate Proofing Housing Landscapes project, Groundwork London, one of the UK’s leading environmental and social regeneration charities, is working in partnership with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to design and implement climate change adaptation measures on three housing estates.

Part funded by the European Commission’s LIFE+ Environment programme, the measures will help to make the estates more resilient in the future, at the same time delivering a range of other benefits to residents, including employment and training opportunities, play features, food growing spaces and improved visual amenity.

Find out more
Housing Europe would like to join consortium for the open ENSUF Call (*)

JPI Urban Europe’s fourth call – the ERA-NET Cofund Smart Urban Futures (ENSUF) – supported by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme, is open as of December 16.

The projects submitted in this call should aim to cover new and innovative approaches, promote interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and encourage the involvement of civil society, thus bridging gaps between research disciplines, citizens and decision makers, cities and consumers.

Three call topics are defined:
  • Concepts and strategies for smart urban transformation, growth and shrinkage
  • New dynamics of public services
  • Inclusive, vibrant and accessible urban communities
INTERREG: A project management handbook

The European Commission has published in the end of 2015 a set of documents that illustrate the opportunities and challenges of Interreg projects and provides practical guidance and advice for the 2014-2020 programming period.

Going step-by-step through the stages of the project cycle (from idea to closure) it will be possible to understand what key actions, success factors and critical aspects a project partner will face while embarking on an Interreg project.

Check out the guide online

Working Committee Meetings are back! (*)
22-24 February 2016 in Brussels

The first working committee meetings of 2016 are approaching. Please check out the dates and times and register as soon as possible for the ones you are going to attend. 
Monday, 22 February
Social Affairs (14:00 – 15:30)
Economic and Finance (16:00 – 17:30 )

A reception for the launch of the "Housing for All" campaign will follow. The Guardian Housing Editor, Dawn Foster will be a guest speaker.
Tuesday, 23 February
Housing Observatory (09:30 – 11:00)
Energy and Construction (11:30 -13:00)
Urban Affairs (14:00 – 15:30)

Check out the draft agenda of all meetings and register online
Habitat III: Housing Europe gets ready
In October 2016, the United Nations will organise the Third Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). For the preparation of this important event that happens only every 20 years, Housing Europe will participate to the regional preparatory meeting for Europe, that will take place in March from the 16th to 18th in Prague.

Beyond the participation to the main event, Housing Europe will co-organise side events with the UNECE and the International Union of Tenants on the key topic of affordability of housing. The objective of Housing Europe is to use those international fora to convey key recommendations on how to support the development of social housing.
If you want to take part to the Prague meetings, you can register here

For further information on Habitat III contact Julien Dijol
EUROCITIES Open call to young professionals - views on the urban future
To mark its 30th anniversary EUROCITIES is launching an open call to collect material to be published in an edited volume of selected views from young professionals.
What will our cities be like in future? What will 'citizenship' mean? How will cities meet people's expectations? How will they face key challenges such as climate change, unemployment and poverty? These are some of the questions to be addressed in the publication, which will mark the anniversary.

The call is open to young professionals from different backgrounds and with different expertise. Contributors must be aged between 25 and 35 years in 2016, and must belong to one of the following professional categories: researchers, journalists, architects and urbanists, opinion leaders, and novelists. They should have at least three years of professional experience in their field.

Contributions should be in the form of a short paper based on their experience and background, of no more than 2,500 words in English.

Find out more information and apply
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