Housing Europe News 04.04.2016
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Brussels is still feeling the impact of the March 22nd attacks which triggered quite a few questions about the root causes and the handling of security threats not least with calls at last week’s emergency justice and home affairs council for increased surveillance freedoms.

However, we have tried as the whole city to return as quickly as possible to a certain ‘normality’ We have published the Housing for All campaign video. Watch it now on our YouTube Channel and find out about our asks and actions in no more than 105'''.

Following the European Habitat meeting in Prague we comment on the Declaration which will feed into the New Urban Agenda of Habitat III. We add our voice to the "Homes for Wales" campaign and we share positive stories and political initiatives from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. 

As always, we have put together a reading list of publications and articles while we present an opportunity within URBACT III that might be more interesting than you've thought. Scroll down all the way to our Events to find out about the European Network for Housing & Urban Development (ENH) that is about to be launched in Bochum and make sure you do not miss any event that may be interesting for you and your members. 

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Housing 4 All campaign explained in 105''
As you already know Housing Europe has launched a campaign in the end of February that invites EU institutions, member states, local authorities and housing providers to work together with the overall aim to boost the supply of affordable homes for livable communities.

Today, we officially present you the official video of the campaign. We invite you to take less than two minutes of your time to browse through the campaign pillars, our main asks, our action plan as well as to potential ways to get  involvement.

Find out all you need to know about the campaign and share it within your network and beyond! Subtitles in German, French, Portuguese and Greek will be available soon. Would you like to help us with the translation of the script in more languages? Drop us an e-mail at After all, a universal message like "Housing 4 All" should not face any language barriers...
Prague Declaration: More work on solutions needed!

The regional meeting of Habitat III in Prague in mid-March was concluded with the the so called “Prague Declaration that is supposed to be considered official inputs to the Habitat III process. 

“European Habitat” involved a wide range of participants that debated regional priorities for the New Urban Agenda and policy recommendations in the form of a final regional participants' declaration. The “European Habitat” focused on the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe consisting of 56 Member States, though while participation was open for all.

In this regard, “European Habitat” gathered recommendations on sustainable housing and other topics from the spectrum of a proposed New Urban Agenda.

Housing Europe believes that it is, of course, positive that the Declaration stresses lack of affordable ‪housing. However, all sides have to keep working more on solutions towards Habitat III Conference in Quito.

You may read the Prague Declaration here
How to step up inclusive growth
On 21 March 2016, Housing Europe participated at Annual Convention for Inclusive Growth, organised every year by the European Commission. The Convention brought together policy makers and civil society to discuss what the EU can do to ensure that all citizens reap the benefits of truly inclusive growth.

The one-day event included workshops that explored how the EU may deliver sustainable, long-term inclusive growth in a more efficient way. Housing Europe participated actively to the brainstorming at the workshops by sharing its views on the case of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

Read more
Apply now for the European Responsible Housing Awards 2016!

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.

Find out more all you need to know about the awards on this BUILD UP article

Terms and conditions are now available in Dutch, Swedish and French

Apply now!
Financing energy efficiency in France
Generating housing solutions for refugees and asylum seekers

For the first time, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is co-financing a project of energy efficient refurbishment of housing stock. The housing association Group SNI, its member Adoma and the CEB visited on 21 March the first retrofit operation in in Hoenheim (Bas-Rhin). The three partners signed the contract of cooperation during the last national social housing congress.

The housing residence, whose refurbishment cost amounts up to 1.8 million € (460 455 € CEB loan), gives home to 235 migrant workers. The project is one of the 60 projects to be co-financed in the next five years by the bank as part of the agreement, which seeks, with a budget of € 100 million, to provide better reception conditions and emergency shelter to refugees and asylum seekers.

Read more
Homes for Wales 

The Homes for Wales campaign stands behind one simple message – End the housing crisis, build a stronger Wales, asking the next Welsh Government to publish an ambitious plan for housing that sets out how they will end the housing crisis in Wales. No one can make the case for a housing crisis alone which is why Housing Europe is supporting this campaign and is encouraging you to add your voice, too.

Homes for Wales is a coalition led by seven organisations – Community Housing Cymru Group (a Housing Europe Member), Chartered Institute of Housing Cymru, Shelter Cymru, Welsh Tenants, Home Builders Federation, Residential Landlords Association, and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Find out more
Netherlands: Dutch housing associations and the integration of refugees
Encouraging messages from Amsterdam

Social housing associations and the NGO Vluchtelingenwerk are assisting refugees with a residence status and a dwelling, to integrate as soon as possible in their community. Volunteers - recruited among others among employees of the social housing corporations - will inform these new tenants about their rights and obligations related to housing.

The housing corporations fund the coordination and professional support of the project. Eventually a total of 70 volunteers will be involved, coordinated by the NGO Vluchtelingenwerk. The municipality of Amsterdam will also take over part of the costs.

More information
The municipal housing policy of Barcelona
Javier Buron, Manager of Housing in the Barcelona City Council presented at the latest Housing Europe Working Committee meetings the municipal housing policy that aims to take a diverse approach towards the increasing challenges that are linked to housing availability and affordability.

Javier delivered 4 key messages.

Check them out as well as his complete presentation on our website
Public - public cooperation
Bypassing public procurement obstacles

After the EU public procurement revision, a one-day conference on the specific topic of Public- Public cooperation was organised by Union Sociale pour l’ Habitat (USH) in Paris in collaboration with the French social housing federations (ESH- Offices publics de l’Habitat et les Coopératives Hlm).

More than 150 participants from local social housing providers examined new possibilities to collaborate, also with other contracting authorities, outside the scope of public procurement rules.

Read more in English and in French
Revisions to the Standardised Approach for credit risk
GdW contributes to the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision

Our German member organisation, GdW has issued a statement in March addressing the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision regarding the revisions to the standardised approach for credit risk. GdW notes that: “The rulings of Basel III are of major significance to the housing and real estate industry. On the one hand, real estate industry investments are characterised by very high investment volumes. On the other hand, the share of outside (debt) capital required for financing is particularly high. The average share of equity capital used for real estate investments in Germany is generally just 15 % to 25 %, meaning that a substantial proportion of the investment costs have to be financed in the long-term with outside capital. The German real estate market is one of the most stable markets in the EU and worldwide.”

With the current risk weight for residential real estate exposure is 35 % GdW highlights that both national specificities and the mission a certain company is fulfilling should be among the key elements of the regulatory framework.

Download the complete statement issued by GdW in German & in English

Articles & Publications
A "new deal" for energy consumers
Housing Europe has been supportive of a “new deal for energy consumers” that would allow residents/tenants to heat their homes with clean, local and cheaper energy. The use of renewable energy combined with energy efficiency measures is the way forward but we need a good regulatory framework for an effective business models.

The EU will have an impact on this framework through the Energy efficiency directive, the energy performance of buildings directive and the legislation on retail energy markets that will all be reviewed and updated in the second semester of this year.

Read more about the key elements in the discussion on the future energy legislative framework
Bruegel report: A proposal to revive the European Fiscal Framework
One of the biggest think tanks in the Brussels scene, Bruegel has published its latest report calling for a re-think of EU deficit rules.

The authors, Grégory Claeys, Zsolt Darvas and Álvaro Leandro highlight that “the current inefficient European fiscal framework should be replaced with a system based on rules that are more conducive to the two objectives, more transparent, easier to implement and which have a higher potential to be complied with.”

Download the report
Greece: the perfect storm for widespread fuel poverty

Low quality buildings are the starting point for Greece's current cold front. Data from the Ministry of Environment and Energy show that of 565 508 energy performance certificates (EPCs) issued to date, 32.2% of houses rank in Category H. The vast majority are simply not well insulated – if, indeed, they are insulated at all. To put that in perspective, while most new buildings in Europe need 3 to 5 Lιτρεσ of heating oil per m2 per year, older buildings consume an average of 25 L/m2. Category H buildings can guzzle up to 60 L/m2.

Overlay high oil prices and the unrelenting economic crisis on this foundation, and the conditions are ripe for a national catastrophe. A few characteristics of Greece make the situation unique.

Read the report that gives a  a comprehensive update about ‪energy poverty in ‪the country
Study: Unlocking the EFSI for Social Services

The European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has published a study on how to unlock the Juncker Package (European Fund for Strategic Investment -EFSI) for the Social Services sector.

It provides practical steps and recommendations on how to ensure that EFSI supports the financing of projects in this sector, as well as an overall analysis of the barriers currently hindering this process; both from the perspective of social service providers and financial intermediaries.

The study is composed of five reports that can be read independently. See more
Opinion: Time for a systemic change to promote social investment
“However, while money seems to be available for the social sector through EFSI, five main barriers persist for its use; a lack of tailored information on how EFSI can be used for the social sector, the lack of specific instruments for the sector, the limited understanding of the social sector by financial institutions, the lack of financial skills in the social sector, as well as public authorities’ fiscal constraints that limit their investment capacity.”

Policy & Advocacy Adviser of the Social Platform, Valentina Caimi shares her aftermath of the Annual Convention on Inclusive Growth 2016, calling for action towards a systemic change.

Read the article

URBACT III 1st call for Implementation Networks now open! (*)

After the 1st call of action planning networks has been launched and here is the list of networks, URBACT has just launched the first call for implementation networks. The main objective of Implementation Networks is to improve the capacity of European cities to implement integrated strategies for sustainable urban development. Even though the call targets cities, Housing Europe members can join, as stakeholders, to these networks.

More information on our website

Launch conference of the European Network for Housing & Urban Development (ENH)
Bochum, Germany, April 7th
Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards will be among the keynote speakers at the launch conference of the European Network for Housing & Urban Development (ENH) that will take place in Bochum on Thursday, April 7th 2016.

Organised by the European Education Center for Housing and Real Estate Economy EBZ (Europäisches Bildungszentrum der Wohnungs- und Immobilienwirtschaft) the conference will shed light to the most important policy developments at EU level with an extra focus on EU funding programmes. At the same time, it will explore the role of the housing federations and associations, while inspiring projects will be presented to participants.

Find out more both about the event and the ENH on our website
Towards a modern & energy efficient future for cooperative housing - A Conference organised by Housing Europe and its Hungarian member, LOSZ
Budapest, 28 April 2016
The development of energy efficient modernization of condominium residences and of buildings owned by housing cooperatives. The National Federation of Housing Cooperatives Hungary (LOSZ), the Hungarian member organisation of Housing Europe organises an international conference on energy efficiency for cooperative housing with a focus on the best practices that could stimulate energy efficient modernization in Hungary.

Participants are invited to discuss the question of refurbishments resulting energy efficiency in condominium residences and in buildings owned by housing cooperatives. The Board of LOSZ noted that the energy efficient modernization in Hungarian housing stock is lagging behind and believes that reducing energy costs would lead to real savings of the maintenance costs of households in the long run.

Find out more and register now!
EUROCITIES Workshop on Affordable Housing
Brussels, April 26th

EUROCITIES organises an interactive workshop on affordable housing. This meeting will take place in the Permanent Representation of the Catalan Government in Brussels, and will gather city experts, EU institutions, NGOs and Housing associations to discuss the way affordable housing is delivered in cities, what are the main challenges and how they could be addressed. Housing Europe will be among the event speakers, too.

EUROCITIES notes in the event invitation that “a well-defined policy on affordable housing contributes to achieving social cohesion objectives, by helping to prevent segregation and the emergence of social or ethnic ghettoes. How these issues can be achieved, which good practices and challenges exist will be discussed in this event.” The conclusions of the event will feed into the European Urban Partnership on Housing.

Check out the agenda and register online
Financing Services of General Interests in the Aftermath of the Crisis: What Role for Financial Instruments?
Brussels, April 19th 

Is the EU regulatory framework fit for purpose as regards supporting the provision and operation of SGIs? What role can be played by the EFSI and ESIF – Europe's biggest investment initiatives – in fostering investment in SGIs? What are the prospects for the use of new financing models in the most affected SGI sectors – such as healthcare and education?

All those issues will be tackled at the occasion of the hearing “Financing Services of General Interests in the Aftermath of the Crisis: What Role for Financial Instruments?” which is organised by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

Find out more
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