Housing Europe News 07.12.2015
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While global leaders were attending the Climate Conference (COP21) in Paris aiming to reach an agreement that will renew their commitment to fight climate change, Housing Europe has been advocating that the fair green energy transition should “Start at Home”. On the Buildings Day of COP21 we have presented the contribution of our sector that builds upon the Offer made in Copenhagen six years. If you haven’t done so already, we invite you to spread the word on social media using the hashtags #StartatHome and #COP21.

At the same time the momentum around the refugee crisis is rising with its urban dimension climbing up the ladder of the political agenda. Ahead of our joint event with the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament we report from the latest meeting of Ministers for Regional Development and Urban Policy.

Our analysis of the Annual Growth Survey 2016 is the latest addition to our European Semester Toolkit while there are quite a few events that Housing Europe representatives have attended, presenting the work and the ideas of the European Federation. Catch up with all latest activities and do not forget to save the dates of all next year’s key events. 

And there is more than that... Updates from URBACT III, an encouraging development about local energy from Sweden, the newly presented Citizens' Dashboard by Finance Watch, the latest edition of our "10' with" blog column, project updates, articles and studies. 

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.

Start at Home
The contribution of Housing Europe to COP21

On the “Buildings Day” (December 3rd) of COP21 Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative and Social Housing presented its contribution to the Paris Climate Conference and joined the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.
In this update of the Offer made in Copenhagen six years ago (2009), Housing Europe makes the case that our homes hold the key to a fair green energy transition. This is why the fight against climate should “Start at Home”.
The Offer is divided into two parts:
  1. In the first it is estimated, thanks to several inputs by Housing Europe members, “what our homes can do”, meaning how much our sector has contributed already over the last five years to a fair green energy transition. Both quantitative figures and qualitative facts paint the picture.
  2. The second part highlights “what our homes need”, in other words the policy demands of the public, cooperative and social housing sector in the years to come, so that it produce even more significant results.
At the same time Housing Europe has formally endorsed the formation of a Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.
This initiative led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) acknowledges that the buildings and construction sector can contribute significantly to achieving climate goals and the common objective of limiting global warming to below 2°C.

Read and download our COP21 Offer and find out more about the Alliance

Have your say on Twitter using #StartatHome
Urban dimension of the refugee crisis highlighted by Ministers for Regional Development and Urban Policy

On 27 November Ministers competent in urban policy matters discussed strategies to promote small and medium-sized cities as poles of attraction and service supply centres in general and in a cross-border context. 
Ministers focused on the urban dimension of the current refugee crisis, while towns would play an essential role in the short, medium and long terms, in the reception and accommodation of asylum seekers and in the integration of recognized refugees.They concentrated on the type of assistance which towns would need in order to solve problems regarding the urban scale of the refugee crisis, such as accommodation, skills training, (tackling) poverty and integration. François Bausch indicated that this point will be the subject of more in-depth discussions under the Netherlands Presidency of the EU.

Housing Europe has already expressed its position on the issue and will be organising in collaboration with the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE) policy briefing sessions that will feed the own initiative report (INI) that will be drafted by the committee.   

Read more
Promise for "social fairness" but lack of integrated approach to housing- What is in the Annual Growth Survey 2016 for housing providers?

The 2016 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) was published on 26 November, kicking off the European Semester cycle for 2016. Housing Europe is pleased to see a renewed commitment towards re-launching investment, including social investment. We also consider an improvement that, accompanying the core MIP indicators, additional indicators now include data on residential construction.

Clear gaps in housing supply are emerging in a number of EU member states (notably Sweden and UK), but rather than a general shortage, we have identified the need for affordable housing solutions, especially in heated local housing markets.
Overall, the November Semester ‘package’ in its different parts still shows a lack of integrated approach to housing.

Read our analysis on the Annual Growth Survey 2016
Indicating access to housing and housing exclusion
Housing Europe invited to thematic review meeting at the European Commission

On November 24th, Housing Europe was invited to contribute to a meeting organized by the European Commission and the Social Protection Committee group on indicators (SPC ISG), presenting key findings from the recent State of Housing in the EU 2015 report.

The aim of the meeting was to carry out a thematic review of available data and indicators on access to housing and housing exclusion. The event brought together representatives from the Member States experts in the field of social inclusion/protection (full list of group members), officials from DG Employment and Social Affairs as well as Eurostat, and Eurofound. Housing Europe and FEANTSA were identified as experts from the non-governmental sector.
Read more on our website
Updates from URBACT III: Funding opportunities & a report on regenerating deprived areas

The URBACT programme will fund 3 types of networks: action planning networks, implementation networks and networks. So far only the 1st call of action planning networks has been launched and the list of networks is available on our website.

At the same time, the the European Territorial Cooperation programme has published a report on the regeneration of deprived areas which explores the existing national policies and practices regarding this issue. Concerning the growing threats of urban poverty and its spatial concentration, URBACT has launched an initiative to explore the existing national policies and practices of integrated regeneration of deprived areas.

Get all recent updates from URBACT III
Affordability, Sustainability, Liveability- Addressing the future challenges for housing

Housing Europe participated in the 3rd Europe Housing Forum that took place in Berlin from 18 until 20 November 2015. The Forum was organised by Habitat for Humanity – Europe, Middle East and Africa in partnership with UN Habitat, UNECE, UNDP, The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It brought together policy makers, urban planners, private sector players, utilities, donor agencies, international organizations, and NGOs to look at how change in housing policies can happen by taking an integrated approach—government policy, private sector investment and social inclusion—to successfully develop future communities. The event was attended also by the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farha.

Housing Europe President Marc Calon delivered one the plenary speeches on November 19th. Housing Europe also had its own stand presenting its latest publications and networking with conference participants.

Check out Marc’s presentation as well as the key recommendations generated at the event in our report
Citizens’ Dashboard of Finance

Finance Watch, a partner organisation of Housing Europe, has recently presented an online tool was developed to help define what society expects of the financial system. The so called “Citizens’ Dashboard of Finance” aims to measure how far the current financial system is meeting those needs, and to map solutions to improve it. The prototype of the dashboard collects indicators to show how the financial sector affects society in a variety of areas such as "power and influence", "size and stability," "trust and transparency" etc.

The project is still in its early stages and will need the support of many citizens and organisations to help develop and use the Dashboard as a tool for civil society to push for transformational change.

Find out more and contribute
Civil society, cities and regions preparing for COP21
A conference on multilateral mobilization for climate action

Housing Europe participated in the "Civil society, cities and regions preparing for the COP21 and beyond" conference in Brussels on 19 November 2015.

The conference was organized by the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the Committee of the Regions (CoR) where participants demonstrated how civil society in European cities and regions can be mobilised for COP21 and concrete climate action. The discussion was initiated around the state of negotiations and the main positions of both institutions.

At the event, several wallpapers were showcasing best practices of climate action; an ambitious social housing project was also presented from Northern Ireland. With the framework of this project the region is installing solar panels on 2000 social homes.

Read more

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with Guy Entringer, Director of SNHBM, Luxembourg

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In this edition, we head to Luxembourg. In the small European country, the Director of SNHBM, Guy Entringer introduces the organisation he manages and identifies the key characteristics and challenges of the affordable housing sector in the Grand Duchy. Plus, as usual, he shares some tips that help him strike a good life-work balance.
Read the full interview on our blog
European Parliament Study: “How to end energy poverty?”

The Policy Department of the European Parliament has developed at the request of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) a study on energy poverty.

The publication highlights that policymaking to alleviate energy poverty needs to find a balance between short-term remedies and the resolution of long-term drivers of energy poverty. EU policy might need to work towards a) finding a definition of energy poverty; b) supporting national policies financially through EU coordination; and c) setting minimum standards for energy efficiency of buildings and devices.

Download the publication in PDF format
Belgium: SLRB presents Regional Construction Plan
Our Belgian member SLRB presented last month its Regional Plan for construction of social homes. The objective of the plan is the realisation of 3.171 new accessible dwellings of high quality and of high energy performance that will be allocated to their tenants by 2019.  

To boost the pace of the project, SLRB is open to new partnerships, inviting any owners of public land that could accommodate a housing project to apply for subsidies within the framework of Alliance Habitat (more information).

You may download the Plan with pictures of all projects here
Report: An Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe

FEANTSA and Fondation Abbé Pierre have launched their joint report: An Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe. The report reveals that rising housing costs are disproportionately affecting the poor: with a growing number of people experiencing housing deprivation, arrears on rent, over-crowding, fuel poverty and homelessness.

Read the report online
Sweden: Victory for local energy! Municipality wins case against competition authority

Three years ago, the municipality of Växjö was sued by the national competition authority for requiring city owners to connect to its local district heating system. On Monday 16 November, the Stockholm District Court ruled in favor of Växjö, marking a victory for local sustainable energy projects, often unable to compete with free market imperatives.

The judgement by the Court affects 500 households in Växjö. Växjö’s impressive district heating network uses heat from a combined heat and power plant, powered by waste wood biomass. Rather than importing energy, the city has long preferred to tap into its local resources, with half of its territory being covered by forest. This smart move is one of the many actions that earned it its international reputation of greenest city in the world, with an impressive objective to become fossil fuel free by 2030.

Read more on the website of Energy Cities
Article: Inequality and the City

Nobel Prize-winning Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman dedicated one of his last columns to the issue of inequality in the urban environment. Looking at New York and at urban America in general, Krugman concludes that “In this age of gentrification, ‪housing policy has become much more important than most people realize”.

Read the full article on The New York Times website

New Interreg programme adopted (*)

The Commission has adopted the 2014-2020 Atlantic Area Transnational Cooperation Programme, worth €185.3 million with a contribution from ERDF of €140 million.
The programme promotes cooperation between 38 regions from 5 EU Member States: France, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom, including the outermost regions of the Canary Islands (Spain) and the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira (Portugal).

The four priorities of the programme are:
  1. Boosting innovation and competitiveness, accelerating smart growth;
  2. Fostering a resource-efficient economy, promoting the use of renewable energies
  3. Strengthening the territory's resilience to risks of natural, climate and human origin, Supporting a better protection and management of the territory;
  4. Protecting the biodiversity and promoting the cultural and natural assets of the region
European Research project publishes housing-related findings

The European research project SOPHIE (Evaluating the Impact of Structural Policies on Health Inequalities), funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme from 2011 to 2015, has just published its conclusion.

Through this initiative, new evidence has been generated on the health impacts of policies that shape people’s living circumstances, with a focus on housing condition.

Check out the housing-related findings

Read the full report of conclusions

The Communities of our Future: Migration and Housing

Housing Europe will be organising in collaboration with the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE) policy briefing sessions that will feed the own initiative report (INI) that will be drafted by the committee. Based on its members’ inputs Housing Europe has already identified 4 key issues that have to be tackled as soon as possible:
  1. Emergency – innovation in field of temporary housing (use of existing buildings/alternatives to regular stock)
  2. Medium & Long term Housing Needs including social issues (the impact of new influx)
  3. Social acceptance of immigrants
  4. Integration: Local experience which shows what can work on the ground
The event is going to take place on 13 January 2016 and Housing Europe members are also invited to actively participate.
The morning session on the premises of the European Parliament will be followed by an open event at the Edelman Centre that will bring together representatives from EU institutions, cities and regions and Housing Europe members for a dynamic debate around the challenges that the refugee crisis raises on the ground.

More information in the next edition of our newsletter, on December 21st.
SAVE THE DATES: Housing Europe Meetings of the Year (*)

The full list of annual meetings for Housing Europe members has just been published! Save the dates for the upcoming Board, Working Committee Meetings and more.

Access the calendar online, sync with your phone or download the list as PDF
4th Conference of European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing
Brussels, 9-10 December 2015

The 2015 Conference of Partners of the European Innovation Partnership on Active & Healthy Ageing (EIP on AHA) will be held in Brussels on the 9th (from 15:00 CET) and 10th December 2015 (all day). This year's Conference of Partners is dedicated to the theme "Accelerating market uptake of innovation for active and healthy ageing across Europe"

The European Innovation Partnership is at a crucial stage of its development. The next months will determine the success of this endeavour.
Housing Europe will attend this Conference of Partners that aims to generate an open discussion about the achievements so far and the future vision for the Partnership but also to re-energise its focus on accelerating innovation uptake and delivering tangible outcomes.

Check out the event agenda
Social Platform's 20th anniversary event
L42 (Rue de la Loi 42) Brussels, 8 December, 15:00-18:30

Social Platform turns 20 this year, and to mark the occasion we are holding an anniversary event. Housing Europe is a member of the largest platform of European rights and value-based NGOs working in the social sector that promote social justice, equality and participatory democracy by voicing the concerns of member organisations.
Based in Brussels in the same building as Housing Europe, Social Platform advocates for, and raises awareness on, policies that bring social progress to all in the European Union.

Its anniversary event will feature an armchair debate moderated by Geoff Meade of Meade Davis Communications with:
  • Marian Harkin MEP (ALDE, Ireland)
  • Conny Reuter (Secretary-General, SOLIDAR; former-President, Social Platform)
  • Maxime Cerutti (Director of Social Affairs, BUSINESSEUROPE)
  • Neil Campbell (Acting-Director, Open Society European Policy Institute)
The topic of the debate will be “Social Europe over the last 20 years, focusing on human rights, social standards and services: what needs to change?”

Check out the invitation
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