Housing Europe News 11.07.2016
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We had to put together another double edition of our newsletter in summer to fit everything that has happened over the last weeks. No doubt these have been significant moments in recent European history. The British EU referendum result triggered a Brexit drama with implications still unclear. Read the National Housing Federation blog entry on the matter, and the first reactions of many to come from London-based NHF Member. With many on-going uncertainties, Housing Europe is happy to be at the first event to discuss possible implications for housing on July 19th in London, with first reactions of Housing Europe Secretary General here.  

In the meantime, Housing Europe has been in attendance at a  meeting of the housing focal-points from national Ministries and the new EU Urban partnership on Housing. These were among the first gatherings hosted in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava as the Slovakian EU Presidency kicks off.

After the summer break we will be heading to the UN European Headquarters "Palais des Nations" in Geneva for our annual meetup. Apart from the General Assembly an International Conference in the form of a Lab of Ideas will aim to shape the housing policies of the future marking the end of our "Housing for All" campaign. Make sure you check out all events we have put together for you and register in time!

Have a look at the report from our latest committee meetings, from our Seminar on the EIB funding opportunities as well as at the overview of the 2nd edition of the European Responsible Housing Awards. As you will see many housing organisations in various countries lead by example when it comes to their impact in the wider community. 

No matter where you're heading for your holiday, fly with us first to Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria to check out the latest developments, to meet one more of the faces behind our members in a "10' with" interview but also to say goodbye to Luciano Caffini of Legacoop Abitanti who has retired. 

Last but not least, take a moment to get updated regarding the projects Housing Europe contributes to and other that may constitute an opportunity for your organisation. 

We hope you enjoy the read. Best wishes for a nice summer break! We will be back on September 5th.

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.

Housing Europe Annual Get Together
General Assembly 2016 and International Conference on Housing Policies

The GA this year is organised jointly with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and in partnership with Co-operative Housing International. A conference on the future of housing policies, as part of our Housing for All year long campaign, will take place, too.

In 2014 Housing Europe President, Marc Calon highlighted in the guiding sentiment of his Presidency of Housing Europe the EU disconnect with peoples’ lives and real concerns that many believe was one of the reasons for the 52% to tick the ‘leave box’ at the ballot boxes last week in Britain. This implies that the work to support communities and tackle inequalities will now become even more vital to ensure the original aims of the European project, to build and deliver peace and stability in our villages, towns and cities.

The work of social housing providers is key to meeting our local challenges but also our European and global ones. We must remain open, inclusive and interconnected.
Therefore, this year more than even there will be a wide range of activities and events waiting for you in Geneva, including an international policy exchange conference that aims to deliver a roadmap of suggestions for the housing policies of our future in Europe and beyond.

Get all the information you need and save your seat for all events
Brexit: Facing up to a New Future
What can be the implications for the housing associations

On 23rd June British voters faced one of the most important decisions in the history of the country. The Referendum on UK membership of the European Union has created a huge furore of public debate. We can all take a view on the quality of that debate and some of the opinions expressed, but it is clear that the decision will have implications for us all.

We have asked Paul Doe, Chief Executive of the Shepherds Bush Housing Group, a member of the National Housing Federation to outline how the future might look for the British housing associations outside the EU.

Read Paul’s blog post

Download the latest version of the Brexit briefing that the National Housing Federation put together
Renewed efforts for mutual support between Ministries working on Housing Policy
For some years now there has been no regular exchange between Ministries responsible for housing policy in the EU. The Slovakian presidency of the EU which has kicked off with a series of meetings in Bratislava has brought the so-called housing focal points together and hopes that this will the beginning of renewed much needed exchange across the Europe on housing issue.

The Slovakian Housing ministry also hosted a meeting of the Housing Partnership in which Housing Europe is a fully committed partner to helping achieve its aims of better regulation, better financing and better knowledge in the field of housing at European level.

Read more
EU invests in Social Housing: EIB loans in practice
Report from our half-day seminar

At a time when the European Investment Bank has been scaling up its support for housing with recent loans for housing including €120 million to the Federal State of Brandenburg to deal with housing implications of the refugee influx, € 1 billion for the construction of new social housing in partnership with the Housing Finance Corporation in Britain, €400 million via the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) for Energy efficiency refurbishment in private residential buildings in France Housing Europe organised a seminar offering its members and partners the opportunity to get all essential information but also to pitch their own future projects.

The event was also available through a live streaming conference. You may access the video here

Read the event report

Download our briefing on financial support to social housing in Europe
Working committee meeting highlights - Minutes, decisions made and next steps
Housing Europe members met for the last time before the summer break in Brussels. We have put together the key points, the decisions made as well as an outline of the next steps in autumn.

Read the report on our website
62 projects from 9 countries to celebrate responsible housing- An overview of the Awards 2016 competition

The only Corporate Social Responsibility Awards for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing Providers gather again socially innovative practices across Europe. Jointly organised by Housing Europe, Delphis and the International Union of Tenants, the competition showcases innovative best practices and promotes exchange of knowledge between local housing providers who promote local, social and environmental sustainability, good governance and responsible HR management.

62 best practices from 9 countries have been submitted to the 5 categories that correspond to the core elements of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):
  • Economic Responsibility and Sustainability
  • Local Social Sustainability
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Good governance and fair relations with stakeholders
  • Responsible human resources management
 Read more
Energy Renovation – The real way to put citizens at the heart of the Energy Union

Renovate Europe held a breakfast briefing, hosted by MEP Theresa Griffin, on the theme of energy renovation and consumers on 15th June in the European Parliament in the context of the upcoming review of key buildings-related legislation in the autumn.

At the event, Mrs. Griffin (S&D, UK) spoke forcibly about the need to increase energy renovation of buildings and thereby address the principle root cause for energy poverty. 

Reducing the energy demand of the building stock in the EU will result in numerous benefits to citizens seeking more comfortable, affordable and healthier homes. “We must keep in touch with reality, and listen to the needs especially of low income groups on the ground, who are concerned about the potential rent increases following refurbishment”, said Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe.

Read more
Addressing challenges linked with Structural Funds
Summary of the 2nd High Level Group meeting

The High Level Group (HLG) set by the European Commission in 2015 is responsible for monitoring the simplification for beneficiaries of the ESI Funds. This is the second edition of recommendations.

In 2015-2016, the High Level Group addresses administrative bottlenecks that have been identified in the access to the ESI Funds as well as promote good practices in different areas. 

The meeting on 23 June 2016 tackled different issues including the “goldplating” practice problem. Areas where the issue is arising include audit of the management authorities. The zero-error and zero-fraud management rationale put a burden on beneficiaries.

Read more
Germany: Despite its boom construction sector cannot address the demand

Nearly 250,000 new homes were completed last year in Germany - as many as only back in 2006. However, despite the boom, the increasing need will not be covered, according to our German member, GdW.

The German Tenants' Association complained on the other hand that there is a lack of social housing for rent, especially in the middle and lower price levels in an article published in the German financial newspaper Handelsblatt on Monday, June 13th.  

Only last year GdW member companies (around 3.000 housing associations) invested more than 4.2 billion Euros in housing construction. This can be translated into an increase of about 400 million compared to 2014, while it equals to the construction of 17.400 new units.
This may be setting a new record, but Axel Gedaschko does not seem satisfied.

Read more on our blog
Italy: Rossana Zaccaria new president of Legacoop Abitanti- Luciano Caffini retires and says goodbye to Housing Europe members

April marked the retirement of long-standing and trusted Housing Europe colleague, Luciano Caffini. Rossana Zaccaria is now the new president of Legacoop Abitanti.

Visit our website to read a note sent by Luciano to Housing Europe on this transition
Spain: Energising innovation policy through dual use and sustainable construction

The smart specialization strategy provided a boost to the regional policy, in particular by developing an Action Plan for Sustainable Construction. The Plan developed a much more coherent policy mix and a budget of €529 million.

The Plan aims to make Andalusia an international reference in this area by providing innovative solutions for the global value chain. It adopted smart methods including participatory governance, a shared vision, sub-priorities and a monitoring mechanism.

Read more
Modernization Fund for 10 countries in Eastern Europe (2021-2030)

The fund will be using some 2% of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) allowances to support 10 lower income Member States in Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and Romania) in “meeting the high investment needs relating to energy efficiency and the modernisation of their energy systems”. 

This timeframe, and the four years that will precede it, will be crucial to lay the foundations of a future-proof and resilient energy system. On the road from Paris, the creation of a truly “modern” energy system can be supported via this fund, and support the EU in its goal to become virtually carbon-free by 2050.
Experts: Buildings should shield against climate change

Stakeholders want the European Commission to push for indoor climate quality requirements in the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) revision. Buildings may also help with adaptation towards climate change, experts say.

Buildings in the EU should be not only energy efficient but also able to produce and store energy, European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said at the launch of the Central and Eastern European Energy Efficiency Forum in Bulgaria held last week (22-25 June). The revision of Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), due to be presented by the Commission in September, might focus on these aspects.

Read more on EurActiv
The contribution of coops to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
July 2nd is the International Day of Co-operatives. The celebration this year will be dedicated to the contribution cooperatives provide to the achievement of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Housing Europe has issued a statement to mark the day. Housing Europe President, Marc Calon stressed that “a diverse housing sector is crucial to meeting those goals and cooperatives are a vital tenure needed to deal with the changing housing needs from grass roots level.”

Read the full statement
Cooperatives Europe appoints new director

Cooperatives Europe, a close partner of Housing Europe,  has decided to make a significant change in its executive leadership for strategic reasons, with a view to supporting an effective coordination of all the co-operative sector's activities. It therefore appointed Ms Agnès Mathis new director. Ms Mathis succeeds Klaus Niederländer, who has been leading the organisation since 2010.

Read more

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with Dr. Klaus Lugger, GBV International Relations

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we visit Innsbruck, in Austria. Klaus Lugger, the Co-Chair of the Housing Europe Observatory is also responsible for the International Relations of GBV.

He introduces the organisation, gives us information about the perception of housing in the country and shares some thoughts about the current challenges at national and regional level. Plus, as usual, he presents his own way to strike a good life-work balance.

Read the interview on our blog
Employment and Social Developments in Europe - Quarterly Review Summer 2016

The review, issued by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion of the European Commission, confirms employment growth in the EU strengthened in the first quarter of 2016. The financial situation of EU households continued to improve, driven by income from work and social benefits.

This summer edition focuses on youth labour market performance and finds overall trends and developments for young people age 15-24 in the EU since 2013 are promising.

Read more and download the periodical
9 Ways to Make the EPBD More Effective

The Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) has published an analysis on what would make the EPBD more effective in improving the energy performance of European buildings, while enabling Member States to develop and implement ambitious policies.

The paper summarises recommendations based on earlier BPIE analysis that would make the EPBD more effective in improving the energy performance of European buildings, while enabling Member States to develop and implement ambitious policies.

Read more
Outstanding social commitment in urban neighbourhoods
Social City Award 2016 Ceremony

At the award ceremony of the prestigious competition "Check Social City" on June 22, 2016 outstanding examples of social commitment were awarded a prize in six categories. Overall, it had 18 projects made it to the nomination list.

The competition was held for the ninth time since 2000. "We are particularly pleased with the strong participation of the housing industry at this special price," explained Axel Gedaschko, president of GdW. "This is a sign of how much social responsibility is internalized in corporate strategies.

The price Social City is a joint initiative of competition organizers from civil society, housing, welfare, science and politics.

Visit the competition website to find out more (in German)
New European Commission factsheet on the Investment Plan for Europe and Energy

The European Commission released a factsheet on the Investment Plan for Europe and Energy. Eighteen months after President Jean-Claude Juncker launched the Investment Plan for Europe, and a year after the start of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the Commission takes stock of achievements to date.

Read more on BUILD UP
Aedes new long-term vision statement

Housing Europe Dutch member organisation, Aedes has released its new long-term vision video. "Agility-stability-focus on ‪residents" are the 3 main pillars around which Aedes will keep delivering affordable quality homes for the years to come.

Watch the video, now available with subtitles in English

Future skills & training courses for nZEB - Fill in the PROF TRAC Questionnaire

Housing Europe as part of the PROF TRAC Consortium works on professional training courses together with architects and engineers. The objective of the project is to map current skills gaps of professional in nZEB, to develop a training courses as well as an online training platform.  In the development of the training courses, we would like to as you, as our front runners in energy efficient housing, to fill in a survey about your perception on nZEB skills and your potential training needs.

We invite you to fill in the questionnaire- it won’t take you more than 5’- by August 19th

Check out the second project newsletter
ABRACADABRA Second Project Meeting & International Workshop

Housing Europe took part in the second ABRACADABRA project meeting that was hosted by the University of Bologna. During the meeting partners from 8 countries, Romania, Latvia, the Netherlands, Greece, Norway, Bulgaria, Spain and Italy presented the results of the national meetings that had taken place since April. The main goal of this first phase was to identify the key challenges and barriers for the better market acceleration of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings. 

Most participants highlighted the lack of qualified construction workers, legislative barriers, cultural aspects related to energy management and lack of knowledge among citizens as well as the disconnect between urban regeneration policies with the nZEB targets.

The international workshop aimed to present concrete, innovative solutions that will allow the wider market acceleration of nZEB possible. Academics and researchers but also practitioners, including Housing Europe Board Member, Marco Corradi shared best practices with their peers. Most of them focused on volumetric additions, including facade renovation, horizontal extension, vertical extension and foundation load transfer. The interventions range from 200 to 2.800 m2.

Find out more about the project
ENLIGHTEN summer school on “EU Socio-economic Governance in the Crisis Aftermath”
19-23 September, Brussels

The GEM PhD School and the ENLIGHTEN Horizon 2020 project organise their GRADUATE ENLIGHTEN – GEM SUMMER SCHOOL “EU Socio-economic Governance in the Crisis Aftermath” hosted by the European Trade Union Confederation at the International Auditorium Conference Center Boulevard du Roi Albert II, No. 5 / 2, 1210 Brussels, Belgium.

The event will examine the state, potential and limits of socioeconomic governance in Europe in the aftermath of the economic crisis. The four working days will be each devoted to a specific research theme:
  • Social Dialogue in the Crisis Aftermath
  • Regaining Trust through Financial Sustainability
  • The welfare Union in question: healthcare and social housing?
  • Youth, Employment and Demographic Change in Europe
Find out more
Improving the Bankability and Investability of Solar
Report from the PV Financing International Workshop

PV Financing aims to successfully remove barriers and identify new avenues for the photovoltaic market development. More specifically, the goal of PV FINANCING is to identify, in all the covered countries, the most profitable business models and financing schemes for PV Systems.

On Wednesday, 22 June 2016 project partners got together in Munich within the framework of Intersolar Europe to discuss experiences and evolving expectations of various project stakeholders for financing a project, especially in emerging solar markets with less experience.

Read more & Download all presentations (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
LIFE Environment & Resource Efficiency call is launched (*)

It supports (grants) pilot and demonstration projects to develop and demonstrate best practices and solutions, including development and demonstration of innovative technologies, to environmental challenges, suitable for being replicated, transferred or mainstreamed, including with respect to the link between the environment and health, and in support of resource efficiency-related policy and legislation, including the Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe.

Find all info you need on our European Funding Portal
Innovation in the urban environment
An overview of the Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions initiative will launch its second Call for Proposals in November 2016.

The European Commission has selected the three topics that will be included in the call:
  • sustainable urban mobility
  • the circular economy and
  • the integration of migrants and refugees

NHF Brexit Conference: housing’s place in the world
London, 19 July 2016 America Square Conference Centre
The National Housing Federation (NHF) has published a briefing on the implications that the vote to leave the EU may have on housing associations, and we will now be putting in place opportunities for associations to understand and discuss these implications for their businesses. This will include further briefings, member engagement events and a national conference.

Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards will deliver a presentation on financing of social housing outside of the EU.

Find out more & register
TENLAW Conference: One year later - Alternative housing tenures in Europe & modern challenges of housing
Taragona, Spain, 29 September 2016
The “Tenancy Law and Housing Policy in a Multi-level Europe” (TENLAW) research Project provided the first large-scale comparative and European law survey of tenancy law. 27 research institutions from all over Europe were involved and the results of this project were presented at a concluding conference in Budapest in September 2015. The next conference in September 2016 will take a second look at the research results of the TENLAW project one year later with a focus on so called “alternative housing tenures” in Europe.

Find out more and register
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