Housing Europe News 21.09.2015
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Summer already seems like a distant memory with rain and demonstrations dominant in Brussels over the last couple of weeks. Farmers and taxi drivers have besieged the European quarter, in the offices of which EU officials have been really busy trying to deal with the refugee crisis. Just a few hours before the Summit that will attempt to establish common ground in addressing the state of emergency we have gathered the first reactions from our members that have already been doing a lot of field work for many years on social inclusion.

With the backdrop of the EPBD review and the pending COP21 meeting in Paris, Energy efficiency in buildings has also been a keyword over the last month in the Secretariat’s offices with presentations about the work of Housing Europe, with a number of conferences but also with an encouraging sign within his State of the Union speech by President Juncker.

Furthermore, we invite you to a trip around Europe for a dose of out of the box thinking and some positive developments in Spain, Romania and Ireland.

Get more information on the most important news of the last couple of weeks, access our list of articles and publications

Stay tuned with the latest developments regarding the European Projects and initiatives Housing Europe is taking part in .

You can also check out our listing of events you may be interested to attend.

Before starting to read, please allow us to give you a tip:
Go to the homepage of (ideally using any other browser than Internet Explorer) and log in by clicking on the lock on the top right side using your credentials. You will then be able to access all links that are for members only (indicated with *).

Refugee Crisis: The never-ending diffidence of the EU
How Housing Europe members contribute to resolving the deadlock

On September 9th, the President of the European Commission dedicated a big part of the State of the Union speech he delivered during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg to the escalating refugee crisis faced by Europe. Jean-Claude Juncker urged MEPs and mainly EU Member State leaders to take decisive action and to support the action plan proposed by the European Commission already in May and updated in September.

The plan that will be on the agenda of the extraordinary summit on Wednesday, September 24th in Brussels is structured around emergency proposal to relocate 120,000 refugees from Italy, Greece and Hungary.
Within the Housing Europe membership

As the situation on the ground in many countries cannot wait for the EU leaders to make a decision, the role of local authorities and of civil society becomes more and more crucial.

Read more on our blog
Energy efficiency investment in housing in State of the Union speech

If we are looking for signs, then this is definitely a positive one. The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker mentioned investment in energy efficiency in housing as one of the early success stories of the European Plan for Strategic Investments (EFSI), of the plan known also under his name as “Juncker Plan”.

While delivering his State of the Union speech in front of the MEPs at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg, Juncker said among many (many…) other things:
‘Together with you and the Member States, we brought to life the €315 billion Investment Plan for Europe, with a new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Less than a year after I announced this plan, we are now at a point where some of the first projects are just taking off. 40,000 households all over France will get a lower energy bill and 6,000 jobs will be created, thanks to Investment Fund-financed improved energy efficiency in buildings. […]’

The project he referred to was already presented to you in the last edition of our newsletter.
You may read the full “State of the Union” speech 
Housing Europe joins Brightest! Greenest! Buildings

Housing Europe has been invited to take part in the latest webcast organised by the innovative European platform, Brightest! Greenest! Buildings, a carbon neutral virtual exhibition dedicated to Europe's most successful and greenest building projects and the green building solution contributing to their performance

Virtual exhibitors and event participants include leading green investors, developers, bankers, building owners, project managers, architects, engineers, facilities managers, technology, materials, products, and service providers along with municipalities, expert organizations and other key stakeholders of green building projects will participate in this one of kind virtual exhibition.

During the online event that took place in the virtual auditorium, Housing Europe Communication Officer, Michalis Goudis presented the profile of the organisation as well as a summary of the "State of Housing in the EU 2015" key findings, while Housing Europe Project Officer, Alessandro Cesale provided with an overview of the final report of PowerHouse nearly Zero Energy Challenge.
Post-2015 Agenda UN Summit, 25-26 September, New York

In September 2015, in New York, a new framework, the proposed ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ will be most probably adopted. There are 17 goals that will allow Europe to face challenges of poverty eradication, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, protecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems and biodiversity, and promoting human rights as the basis for peaceful and prosperous societies are just some of the issues that need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency. UN describes this process as the ‘Post-2015 Agenda’.

Agreement on the Agenda will also have important implications for negotiations at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in Paris in December.

Find out more about the Summit

The European Commission Communication of last February on ‘Global partnership for poverty eradication and sustainable development after 2015’ sets out the principles that need to be implemented if the world is to deliver on its commitment to sustainability and calls for a coherent and integrated policy approach that tackles a broad range of issues together, including the environment, climate change, good governance and the rule of law.
Implementing the EPBD, aiming for the highest quality 
The 2nd QUALICHeCK meeting

Housing Europe participated in the 2nd QUALICHeCK conference on EPBD Review on 4 September 2015 in Brussels. The 2nd QUALICHeCK Conference gave an opportunity to share experience and discuss perspectives on the implementation of articles 18 and 27. The discussions expanded to the quality of the works which is another essential element to meet NZEB standards, although not addressed in the present EPBD.

Julien Dijol, Deputy Secretary General represented Housing Europe in the round table discussion which mainly focused on the present status on the ground regarding quality of the works, and on the view of users regarding present situation.

Read more on our website
Ireland: Urban Development grant scheme for Local Authorities
A major scheme offering grant aid for sustainable urban development initiatives in a number of Urban Centres nationwide was launched Monday 27th July in the House of Waterford Crystal by the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government Special Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy, Paudie Coffey TD.

A budget of some €80 million is available under the two Regional Operational Programmes 2014-20 to local authorities in the designated Gateways and Hubs for support for projects that contribute to the social, economic, and environmental development of those urban areas.

Read more

Articles & Publications
Spain: Barcelona fines banks €60,000 for empty homes
Barcelona city council has delivered on its promise to fine banks with empty houses on their books, charging several banks €60,000 in total over 12 homes that have been empty for more than two years.

“Public authorities have an obligation to use all possible resources to confront the housing emergency,” Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, said as she announced fines on BBVA, Banco Sabadell and Sareb. City officials are investigating another 62 properties to decide whether more fines are appropriate.

Colau, a former housing activist who leads the leftist coalition Barcelona en Comú, said the fines were aimed at forcing banks to make use of empty properties. Those fined have a month to find tenants or face an additional charge of €10,000 (£7,300). If no action is taken after two months they could face another fine of up to €15,000.

The law allowing Barcelona to crack down on banks with empty homes was passed by the previous city council in 2014, but was never applied.

Read more on The Guardian
Romania: affordable housing for young people
An estimated 123 000 people under 35 years of age are in need of affordable dwellings in Romania. Even though they are employed, their income does not allow them to rent or buy property, and they continue to live with their parents, often in cramped conditions.

With a € 175 million loan, the CEB is providing financial resources to Romania to increase its stock of affordable housing.

The Government of Romania has given social housing high priority at the national level. Since 2001, Agentia Nationala pentru Locuinte (National Housing Agency) has been implementing special rental dwelling construction programmes targeting young persons.

In 2015 the government approved the Rental Housing Construction for Young People Programme for 2016-2020 in order to provide an additional 6 990 housing units for 10 500 people. The Programme targets young workers, whose income does not allow them to buy or rent a dwelling at market prices.

Find out more information
Belgium: SLRB issues its annual report

One of Housing Europe Belgian member organisation, SLRB has just published its annual report for the past year. 

The report, that is also a way to celebrate its 30th anniversary, showcases the diversity of the services provided by SLRB along with the provision of affordable housing.

You may read and/or download the publication in French
UNECE Publication: Social Housing in the UNECE Region

UNECE launches a flagship publication on the current trends and challenges in the housing sector in 56 countries in the global north.

The study Social Housing in the UNECE Region: Models, Trends and Challenges (2015) provides a comprehensive overview of current trends in housing provision (including supply, choice and quality) and social housing finance in the regions; addresses the diversity of national housing systems through the analysis of ‘social housing’ definitions; and examines challenges related to decentralization and governance.

It offers recommendations for possible future activities based on an extensive written review of housing issues in over 50 countries and interviews with over 30 representatives of governments, private and third-sector organisations. It gives guidance to the implementation of the goals and principles of the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing, which was endorsed by UNECE in April 2015.

A summary of the report is also included in the “State of Housing in the EU”.

Access the full report in PDF format

Housing and Support: successful ways to help people with complex housing needs 
ELOSH Final Conference

The final and launching event of the ELOSH project took place in Brussels on Tuesday, 15 September. On the premises of VLEVA the Universal Training Pack was presented to both project partners and event participants.

Keynote speeches by academics made the link between the wider crisis of the welfare state in Europe and the overall aim of ELOSH which is the integration of support services into housing in a co-productive way. At the same time project partners had the chance to share their experiences and talk about the challenges they have faced over the last two years.
Representatives of EU and other international institutions explored the potential of the project outcome and presented the point of view of their organisations, including CEDEFOP and OECD, about the ELOSH core ideas.

Check out the Storify report of the final event. A detailed report will be available soon.

The first two videos with short interviews of the project partners are now available on the Housing Europe YouTube Channel. Watch them to find out what is the added value of ELOSH and of co-production for this diverse mix of partners.
European PV Business Model Good Practices

PV FINANCING is one of the latest European initiatives Housing Europe has joined. The project aims at defining and developing new business and financing models for photovoltaic installations, to disseminate them among stakeholders, to shape the necessary policy framework for their application and to remove barriers that prevent those models from realization.

The consortium has just published the factsheets of 18 projects that are considered to be good practices in terms of innovative business models for PV. As good practice is defined a project able to guarantee the expected returns using the planned business model and financing scheme.

We have selected the most relevant ones for our sector and invite you to check them out:
Gelbes Viertel (DE)
Heidelberger Energiegenossenschaft (DE)
Domus Energethica (IT)
BUILD UP Webinar: Securing Energy Efficiency to Secure the Energy Union
BUILD UP, the European Portal for Energy Efficiency in Buildings, in which Housing Europe is an expert contributor organizes the first webinar after the summer break. The online meeting will launch the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) report Energy Efficiency to Secure the Energy Union – How Energy Efficiency meets the EU Climate and Energy Goals.

The speakers of this webinar will be:
  • Heinz Ossenbrink - Head of Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit at the Institute for Energy and Transport (IET) of the Joint Research Centre (JRC)
  • Yamina Saheb - Policy and Scientific Officer at the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Unit at the Institute of Energy (IET) and Transport of the Joint Research Centre (JRC)

Working Committee Meetings October 2015 (*)
12-13 October in Brussels

The Housing Europe Working Committees will meet again after summer in the third week of October in Brussels.

You may now find the draft agenda for all meetings and register online by October 7th.
LOSZ Conference Postponed!

The National Federation of Housing Cooperatives Hungary (LOSZ), the Hungarian member organisation of Housing Europe had planned an international conference on energy efficiency for cooperative housing with a focus on the best practices that could stimulate energy efficient modernization in Hungary.

However, due to force majeure, the conference is now postponed for April 2016. In case you had already registered, please get in touch with LOSZ.
Workshop: Easy access to financing energy efficiency investments
14 October, Brussels

A one-stop-shop workshop on EU funding will gather cities and regions together with energy efficiency financing experts to present integrated approaches to combine EU funding programmes and business cases to attract private investments for enabling a shift toward a low-carbon economy. Examples on how EU funding works and how it can help in launching large-scale investments in energy efficiency of buildings, and in the heating and cooling sector, will be presented on the 14 October 2015 in Brussels.

The event is taking place within the framework of the OPEN DAYS 2015.

Find out more & Register online
Conference: Sustainable Urban Development in EU Member States
29 September-1 October 2015 in Warsaw, Poland

How can sustainable urban development in EU member states be secured for the period 2014-2020?. A conference organized by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development of Poland, The Capital City of Warsaw and the European Commission under the initiative of The Urban Development Network will attempt to provide with answers.

The purpose of this conference is to share experiences among representatives of Member States from works on preparation for implementation of integrated actions supporting development of urban areas in respective countries (commitments deriving from art. 7 of ERDF regulation and especially related to Integrated Territorial Inwestment - ITI).

Learn more
Conference: Adaptation to climate change, from cities to buildings
28 October 2015, Brussels

Construction Products Europe invites you to a conference that is part of the programme of the much larger baseEUcities event.

Erosion of coastal defenses, flooding, drought and greater variations of temperatures are some of the characteristics that the built environment will soon have to cope with. How should we design, build our new homes and infrastructure? How do we deliver resilience in a circular economy?
A sustainable built environment can harvest rain water, deliver thermal comfort, be energy efficient whilst preserving quality of living for its inhabitants. However, the various actors must be brought into play so that the challenges are understood and the right solutions are selected. Be part of this discussion and meet experts from various industries.

More information and online registration
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