Housing Europe News 02.05.2016
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National and the regional developments have stolen the thunder from Brussels over the last couple of weeks. The public, cooperative and social housing sector was present both in high level and less formal meetings with representatives of local authorities and EU institutions, making the case for its added value within the current challenging reality. Mayors of EU Capitals as well as the Commissioner responsible for regional development acknowledged the crucial contribution of our sector.

At the same time a movement seems to start being shaped in many European countries around the universal message for access to decent and affordable housing that will give an end to the increasing social exclusion. A movement that becomes more important given the recent developments that you read about in our reports from Sweden, Germany, Spain etc.

Always trying to be proactive, Housing Europe joins a large scale proposal with the ambition to bring Internet of Things to the service of the elderly while it is also part of a platform aiming to bring the skills and the qualification needed to the nearly Zero Energy Building professionals. 

Enjoy the read!

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"Strong social housing providers are vital for European cities"
EU mayors and European Commissioner highlight the importance of our sector

"European cities need a supply of housing which is affordable for a broad range of citizens and enables high standards of liveability in our neighbourhoods. Strong social housing providers can play a vital role in this but the current state-aid approach, fiscal controls and limitations in access to funding for social housing by the European Commission risk limiting the quality of life in our urban areas."

The Mayors of the EU Capital Cities clearly acknowledge the role and the potential of public, cooperative and social housing providers in their Declaration, signed in Amsterdam on April 21st. The heads of the leading European cities came together for their 5th Direct Dialogue with the European Commission.

Corina Creţu represented the European Commission as she is responsible for Regional and Urban Development. In her keynote address she highlighted the added value of social housing for cities, too. The Commissioner also met with the President of Housing Europe and Chairman of Aedes, Marc Calon.
The demand for access to affordable housing gains momentum across Europe
It’s been two months since Housing Europe has launched its “Housing for All” campaign calling for better EU policies for more and better homes. After evaluating the “State of Housing in the EU” in 2015, the European Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing took this initiative that serves as an invitation for cooperation at EU level between the European Union institutions, the member states, the local authorities and the housing providers with the overall aim to boost the supply of affordable homes for liveable communities.

At the same time a movement seems to start being shaped in many European countries around the universal message for access to decent and affordable housing that will give an end to the increasing social exclusion. We have identified some of the most relevant campaigns that are unfolding at the moment led by several of our member organisations.

Read more on our blog
Boost consumer power in the energy market, urges European Parliament Industry and Energy Committee
Consumers should be given more power in the energy market, said Industry and Energy Committee MEPs on Thursday, April 21st. They recommend schemes such as collective buying, home power generation by households, better price comparison tools for everyone and making it easier to switch energy providers and tariffs. In a non-binding resolution intended as an input to Energy Union legislation to be tabled by the EU Commission, MEPs also call for EU funds for energy efficiency to better focus on energy poverty.

To enable consumers to play a more active role on the energy market, MEPs suggest concrete measures, including the introduction of new business models, the limitation to an absolute minimum of administrative barriers to new energy self-generation etc.

More details
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.

NEW DEADLINE for applications: June 1st 2016

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!
European Parliament study on the implementation of the EED

The European Parliament has issued its European Implementation Assessment study regarding the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). Among other things the EP highlights that:

“The EED Article 7 (7)(a) also allows MS to include requirements with social aims in their EEOs, as for example to prioritize households in energy poverty or social housing (European Commission, 2012). Most MS have not included this kind of requirement with the exception of Austria, France, Ireland and UK, where such provisions involve special bonus factors or specific sub-targets. In particular, Austria includes an uplift factor of 1.5 for savings achieved in fuel-poor households. This means that for each unit of energy saved in households living in fuel poverty the energy suppliers receive 50% additional savings compared to households not in fuel poverty. France introduced a ‘programme option’ as part of its scheme starting in 2011, prior to the EED. Obligated parties can realise up to 25 TWh (cumulated and actualized), or 7.2% of the national obligation by financing specific programmes on information, training or innovation. Four of them target fuel poverty, without limit to the amount of savings that can be generated. Ireland prescribes that 5% of the total savings need to be achieved in fuel-poor household”[…].”

It has to be noted that this has one of the key Housing Europe demands related to the EED that we also conveyed to the European Commission and to European Parliament through the Pieper report.

Check out the full study
Cities build on what works
A summary of the Eurocities workshop on affordable housing

The event on 26 April was an opportunity to demonstrate how cities can use affordable housing policies to improve social cohesion, and to identify any obstacles cities face in implementing these policies in the first place.

Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards was invited as a panelist to react to interventions from cities  and moderated one of the workshops on housing and social exclusion where discussions were focussed on approaches to migration in the context of existing housing shortage. She also had the chance to share the views of the housing providers.

Sorcha recognised that some cities have ‘done the math’ and have found that investing in social housing is the most cost-effective solution to address social exclusion, rather than dealing with social conflicts at a later stage. She added that cities and other policy makers have a lot of experiences to share and lesons to learn from the success stories and from what really works on the ground. 

Read more
Sweden: "Integration is harder to handle than housing"

Large scale migration towards and within Europe is the new norm for many reasons. As political leaders are still trying to come up with solutions, housing associations and local authorities are dealing with their greatest challenge in recent history. How can the communities of our future be shaped in a sustainable way? What is the role of affordable housing providers? What is the key to integration?

We virtually met Anders Lago, Chair of our Swedish Cooperative member, HSB to discuss about the challenging balance between housing, migration and integration.

Read the interview on our blog
Housing Germany 

The second tenancy law package becomes an investment-blocker. "On the one hand the housing ministry tries to intensify new construction, energetic renovation, and demographic adaptation within its 'alliance for affordable housing and construction' (Bündnis für bezahlbares Wohnen und Bauen). On the other hand, the plans of the ministry of justice for the tenancy law impede these efforts: refurbishment turns economically unattractive. This way the project “affordable housing for all in Germany” will not succeed”, explained Axel Gedaschko, president of GdW.

Read the more on our blog
New National Housing Bank in Austria

A new national housing back will be set up to guarantee a smooth financing of 30.000 social and affordable housing units to be built in Austria until 2022. Final beneficiaries of financing under the new body, Wohnbauinvestitionsbank (WBIB) will be municipalities and not-for-profit and commercial companies throughout Austria.

More details
The Power of Cooperation

Cooperatives Europe, a partner of Housing Europe, has published its latest report according to which 140 million European citizens are members of a cooperative. The report brings forward the impact of cooperatives across Europe, which provide more than 4.7 million jobs and have a total annual turnover of 1,005 billion Euros - more than the GDP of Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden combined. Significant information with up-to-date facts and figures on cooperatives – by sector and by country – is being provided, in order to increase the effectiveness of cooperative advocacy activities in Europe.

As far as housing is concerned more than 37.500 cooperative enterprises exist with overall 11 million members generating around 20 billion Euros in annual turnover.

Find out more on p.30 of the report
AVS General Assembly 2016 and a farewell to Francisca Cabrera

AVS 2016 General Assembly marked the retirement of their long-standing director Francisca Cabrera Director of AVS since 1988. AVS have been a fantastic team member and a much valued reference point for Housing Europe which was founded in the same year.

Speaking at the assembly Housing Europe Secretary General passed on messages from colleagues and friends from the Housing Europe network who re-called the contribution made by Francisca to housing in Spain remarking on her humanity and the fact that during her work at AVS she always kept her focus on the needs of the most vulnerable and always brought positive energy to our work.

Read more

Articles & Publications
La situation du logement dans lʼUnion européenne
Even if your knowledge of French is limited the above title may seem familiar. Indeed, it translates to “The State of Housing in the EU” and it’s thanks to Association Nationale des Directeurs d’ESH, ESH and to USH that a French translation of the Observatory flagship report is now available.

Download the report & bonne lecture!

Do you want to review the original version in English? Voila!
“Cohousing is a viable alternative”

David Ireland, Director of our member, BSHF was interviewed by the Catalan newspaper “El Periódico” as Barcelona is one of the main cities in Spain and in Europe that are exploring the best possible alternatives out of the housing crisis.

David explained the idea behind collaborative housing, as is the formal term, the advantages, the disadvantages and why this could be a suitable solution for Spain.

Read the interview (with the help of Google Translate) in English
UK: Study shows the impact of welfare reforms on social tenants

A new study by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (CRESR) of Sheffield Hallam University, presented by our member, NHF shows that most recent welfare reforms will reduce the average income of a social rented household by around £1,300 a year– almost double what a private rented household will lose (£710), and more than five times the average loss of an owner occupied household (£230).

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OECD Blog Post: “There’s no place like home”

Across countries, housing is usually the largest expense a household faces. Recent OECD research finds that nearly 15% of tenants and 10% of mortgaged homeowners are overburdened by their rent or mortgage, on average, across the OECD – that is, they spend over 40% of their disposable income on housing.

An even greater share of households report feeling pinched by housing costs, even if they are not counted as overspending in income and spending statistics: more than one in three respondents in a 2012 European survey reported feeling ‘highly burdened’ by their housing costs.

Read more

Housing Europe joins Large Scale IoT Pilot Proposal

Following up its activities aiming to support smart ageing and independent living, Housing Europe joins a large scale proposal with the ambition to bring Internet of Things to the service of the elderly. Within a consortium of over 45 organisations across Europe, Housing Europe proposes to participate in the evaluation and dissemination of an Irish ‘smart ageing in smart social housing’ pilot in over 500 homes amongst members of the Irish Council of Social Housing (ICSH).

Read more
Getting ready for a nearly Zero Energy future

Training, skills and qualification for building professionals. The PROF/TRAC project offers an Open Training Platform and Qualification scheme for Continuing Professional Development, boosting the Nearly Zero - Energy Buildings (nZEBs) sector.

This 3-year EU funded project which is within the framework of Horizon 2020, will develop an ambitious European training and qualification scheme as a support mechanism to professionals dealing with nearly zero energy buildings (nZEB).

Find out more on our BUILD UP article

Save the dates!
All upcoming Housing Europe events
Visit the "Events" section on our website to get an overview of all Housing Europe events until November 2016. 

The schedule of the upcoming Working Committee meetings is now available, too. The draft agenda will follow in the beginning of May. 
Housing and Health: opportunities and challenges in a time of welfare changes
Building the future of Health - 3 June, Groningen, Netherlands

Housing Europe organises within the framework of the "Building the Future of Health" conference a side-event on the issue of "Housing and Health: opportunities and challenges in a time of welfare changes".

More information
“Inclusive finance for employment and social innovation”
EIB Stakeholder Engagement Workshop, Monday 6 June 2016, Brussels

Wondering how to support professional and social inclusion within the European Union despite public and private investment shortage? Join EIB Group (European investment Bank and European Investment Fund) experts, beneficiaries and financial intermediaries to discuss the numerous innovative solutions developed, often in partnership with the European Commission.

More information
Bengt Turner Award 2016 - call for papers

The aim of the Bengt Turner Award is to encourage new researchers to write research papers on housing and urban issues linked to the topics of the European Network for Housing Research (ENHR) Working Groups, to increase awareness of ENHR, and to keep alive the memory of Bengt Turner. The 2016 Bengt Turner Award will be a best conference paper award for those colleagues who are eligible.

Find out more about the eligibility criteria, further requirements and check out the call for papers
QUALICHeCK Platform meeting
Brussels, 11 May 9:30-12:30, at the BBRI offices, Boulevard Poincaré 79

The 3rd QUALICHeCK Platform meeting will
  • look closer at the current status and outputs of the QUALICHeCK project in respect to Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) compliance and quality of the building works, and
  • examine the potential of Building Information Modelling (BIM) as a catalyst in support of compliance and quality. 
QUALICHeCK is an exchange platform aiming to accelerate the process for effective compliance and improved quality of the works, increasing societal support for stricter compliance frameworks, as well as explicit requirements in respect to quality of workmanship which influences energy performance of buildings.

Find out more & register
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