Housing Europe News 14.06.2016
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While representatives of Housing Europe members arrive in Brussels for the last Working Committee meetings before the summer break but also for our seminar on the various forms of financial support on social housing the first June edition of our bulletin is packed with news, since housing and urban issues have been on political forefront lately.

Having released one more part of our "Housing for All" campaign on Energy Poverty, we were pleased to hear the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos echoing our vision. We invite to watch our interview with him. As the Pact of Amsterdam officially sets the tone for the EU Urban Agenda, EU institutions are looking for more efficient approaches regarding the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Come with us to N.Ireland to see how the European Investment Bank supports social housing there- we have a whole publication on this, too- from there to Germany to learn more about the costs of the Energy Transition and then to Switzerland to meet the Director of our Swiss Member, Urs Hauser. 

Even in the Venice Biennale of Architecture housing for refugees takes center stage, while at the same time the European Commission publishes an EU Action Plan for Migration and gathers best practices in one of its key publications on social issues. Housing Europe will join forces with the UN Economic Committee for Europe, UNECE, the Slovakian Presidency of the EU and Cooperative Housing International for a capacity building conference that aims to deliver a roadmap of suggestions for the housing policies of our future in Europe and beyond. Stay tuned, more information will be available soon...

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. Last but not least, don't forget to save the date for the upcoming events.

Enjoy the read!

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Warm Homes for All - How to tackle the challenge of our generation
The "Housing for All" campaign keeps unfolding

Housing Europe dedicates June to the issue of energy poverty as part of its ongoing "Housing for All" campaign.

It’s one of the most alarming phenomena of our times, affecting around 11% of Europeans.Despite being considered the most developed part of the world, the European Union is struggling to tackle energy poverty. Although there is no single indicator for energy poverty in the EU, available figures illustrate the increase of energy costs and growing inability for low income households to cope with them.

Visit our page to see how the situation on the ground looks like, to explore ways out of the deadlock based on what is already working as well as our policy proposals on how to be more efficient.

Visit the "Housing for All" homepage
"Decision makers have to take their share of responsibility
regarding affordable housing"
Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Joan Clos echoes "Housing for All" vision

What could be the ideal outcome of putting housing at the center of the New Urban Agenda of Habitat? Which are the elements of the right policy mix to address the lack of affordable, quality housing? How does a key figure like him interpret the "Housing for All"? The former mayor of Barcelona also found some time to share with Housing Europe his ideas about the right policy mix to combat the lack of affordable housing but also to explain what the "Housing for All" vision of our campaign means to him.

During his latest visit to Brussels the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Dr. Joan Clos took time to share with Housing Europe his ideas about the housing policies of the future as part of the response to the global urban challenges.

Watch all 3 video statements by Joan Clos on our YouTube Channel

Read our report about his presentation of the New Urban Agenda Zero Draft that set the tone for Habitat III.
Financial support to social housing projects in Europe

What is the role of the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) and of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)? How can housing providers across Europe make effective use of the various funding tools and sources in place in order to better serve their projects?

Housing Europe put together a handy briefing that provides all essential information about the different forms of financial support to social housing projects in the continent.

You may read and download it on our website
The Pact of Amsterdam sets the new paradigm in the EU

After the Bristol Accord in 2005, the Leipzig Charter in 2007, the Declaration of Toledo in 2010, the European Union member states have agreed on a new strategic document aiming at improving the relationship with the EU and the urban areas.

In the Pact of Amsterdam, Ministers in charge of Urban Policies indeed agreed to “establish a more effective integrated and coordinated approach to EU policies and legislation with a potential impact on Urban Areas and also to contribute to territorial cohesion by reducing the socioeconomic gaps observed in urban areas and regions”.

Read more
Team effort for sustainable development
How to make SDGs Europe’s business-A Multi-Stakeholder Approach

On 31 May Edit Lakatos from our Secretariat participated in a stakeholder workshop and debate on the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the EU organized by the Dutch Presidency and hosted by EESC with Solidar and World Vision. The core of the discussion was Sustainable Societies and how SDGs contribute to fighting poverty and reducing inequality.

Read more
Give your insights to the UN Special Rappoteur on Adequate Housing

For her next report to the United Nations General Assembly, 71st session, the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, Leilani Farha intends to focus on the indivisibility and interdependence between the right to life and the right to adequate housing.

The report will explore the nature of state obligations to take positive measures to protect the right to life in this context and examine responses of courts, human rights bodies and governments to violations of the right to life linked to inadequate housing and homelessness.

The Special Rapporteur invites Governments and other relevant actors, such as National Human Rights Institutions, civil society organisations, networks and others with relevant information to share contributions and inputs for her report.

We invite you to fill in the questionnaire online
An EU Action Plan on Migration

On 7 June the European Commission presented its Action Plan to support Member States in the integration of third-country nationals and their economic and social contribution to the EU. The Action Plan provides a common policy framework and supporting measures and it sets out the concrete policy, operational and financial support to be delivered at EU level to support them in their efforts.

Read our summary of the latest European Commission proposal
Building the Future of Health: The essential role of housing

At the conference Building the Future of Health in Groningen, in the Netherlands, AEDES and Housing Europe both staged their events to discuss the essential role of decent and affordable housing for all for public health policy.

Read our report
N.Ireland: European Investment Bank confirms £280m investment for members of NIFHA

Apex and Choice housing associations have secured a £280m investment from the European Investment Bank (EIB), the biggest private finance deal in the history of Northern Ireland housing associations. The long-term loans mark the Bank’s first direct engagement with social housing providers in the region and will substantially lower the cost of borrowing for Choice and Apex housing associations who have received EIB approval for £150m and £130m respectively.

They now join a shortlist of high performing associations in the UK and Ireland that have met the EIB’s requirements for credit approval. Legal contracts are expected to be concluded in the coming weeks. The funding, alongside statutory support from the Department for Communities, will enable the associations to begin construction on 4,700 new social homes over the next five years and retro-fit of many existing units.

Read more
Housing in Ireland: Challenges and Opportunities - An exchange with an Irish delegation in Brussels
Edit Lakatos, our Policy Assistant was invited to participate in an exchange with an Irish delegation, consisting of 25 representatives from housing NGO's, charities as well as local government councillors in the European Parliament around the housing situation in Ireland and potential EU funding opportunities. The visit and the gathering have been an initiative by Lynn Boylan Sinn Féin MEP.

The event on 1 June was an opportunity for the Irish delegates to meet with Representatives from the European Commission Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs, the Spanish political party Podemos, the Icelandic Left Green Movement, the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), the German Left (Die Linke) and Housing Europe.

Read more
Germany: More than half of the households end up paying for the energy transition - GdW calls for support to “prosumer” projects

"The energy transition cannot work when more than half of the households in Germany do not have the chance to contribute and to save some money. With its current plans for green power, the federal government buried the pioneering “prosumer” models of numerous tenants. This takes away from tenants in Germany - that's 58 % of all households- the opportunity to actively participate in climate protection in buildings" warned Axel Gedaschko, President of Housing Europe German member, GdW marking the summit of Federal States on the amendment of the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEG).

Read more

Articles & Publications
10' with Urs Hauser, Director of the Swiss Housing Cooperatives

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we pay a visit to Zurich, in Switzerland. Urs Hauser, Director of the Swiss Housing Cooperatives introduces the organisation, gives us information about the perception of housing in the country and shares some thoughts about the current housing crisis. Plus, as usual, he presents his own way to strike a good life-work balance.

Read the interview on our blog
Housing for refugees takes centre stage at Venice Architecture Biennale

The Venice Architecture Biennale is usually a showcase of prestigious architecture projects from around the world, but Germany's entry this year has taken a different angle, focusing instead on simple shelters used to house asylum seekers.

The curators said they hoped the exhibition would inspire a revival of well-designed social housing across Europe. Rather than temporary shelters, governments should build large-scale quality homes for both refugees and citizens alike, they said. "We don't have a refugee crisis, we have a housing crisis," said Peter Cachola Schmal, the pavilion's commissioner and director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum.

Read more on the Reuters website
Social Agena (#44): Integrating Refugees
A European Commission Publication

Integrating refugees into EU countries' labour markets is both a challenge and an opportunity. Social Agenda n°44 explains why and highlights the need to accelerate and deepen the integration process. It also takes a look at the on-going public consultation on an outline for a European pillar of social rights, the role of civil society in promoting an inclusive form of growth and the updating of the law on the posting of workers in other EU countries. 

It's worth noting that Accelair in France is mentioned among the best practices.

Read more

Transition Zero Project: market development for net-zero energy refurbishment in social housing

How to increase the transformation of the building stock while at the same time maintaining affordability for the residents? This key question is what Housing Europe members have been trying to answer over the past years in their daily activities. Part of the answer is now provided by the Transition Zero Project whose kick off meeting took place in Groningen on 21st April.

Read more in our article on BUILD UP
The European Investment Project Portal (EIPP) is now online

In February we had presented the European Investment Project Portal (EIPP), 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 now online. You may visit it to find out more

Cost effective Housing Policies in the European Union
Final event of the PROGRESS program - June 20, Brussels

The two-day (20 & 21 June) conference in Brussels will lead the project to a conclusion. The action is a close cooperation between the Flemish government, academics and stakeholders, each having their own responsibilities concerning the preparation of housing policy.

The first day, held at the Committee of the Regions, is targeted towards an international audience of academics and stakeholders, while the second day, at the Flemish Parliament, is mainly targeted towards a Flemish public. Housing Europe is responsible for the preparation of the international conference on June 20th.

Check out the draft agenda
Acting for responsible housing
Symposium – 21 June, Grenoble, France

DELPHIS, a Housing Europe partner in the European Responsible Housing Awards 2016, and SDH (Société Dauphinoise pour l’Habitat) are organising a major conference that will on the one hand illustrate how Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) can have a positive impact on territorial development, while it will also be the occasion for various housing stakeholders to exchange views around good practices through workshops, debates and even in the so called “innovation village”.

Find out more (in French)
Breakfast Debate: Energy Renovation- What’s in it for Consumers?
June 15th, Brussels

How can increased energy renovation of buildings make the Energy Union a success for citizens? How can the revisions of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive contribute to reduced energy costs, improved health and wellbeing, higher property value, and increased job creation and competitiveness?

Hosted by MEP Theresa Griffin and organised by Renovate Europe, this breakfast debate will focus on consumer interests in achieving Nearly Zero Energy Building (NZEB) standards by 2050 for the building stock in the EU.

Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards will deliver a presentation on how to turn nearly Zero Energy Building Stock fit for Consumers.

Find out more
Ending Energy Poverty in Europe Towards an Inclusive Energy Union
July 7th, Brussels

This symposium, organised by Public Policy Exchange, will discuss the latest developments in tackling energy poverty at European level, exploring the importance of reaching a common European strategy on energy poverty and discuss the next steps to be taken towards the full liberalization of the energy market. It will also focus on the importance of empowering citizens and local communities with a particular emphasis on the need to develop efficient measures to protect vulnerable consumers.

Delegates will:
  • Discuss ways towards the establishment of a common EU strategy to end energy poverty in Europe
  • Define ways to support national policies through EU Funding schemes and to further liberalise the EU Energy Market
  • Promote measures to empower citizens and protect vulnerable consumers
Housing Europe Research Coordinator, Agata Krause will make the case for the added value of community-based approaches in tackling fuel poverty.

Read more and register
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