Housing Europe News 03.04.2017
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On the one hand historical, on the other hand disappointing and alarming. The last days of March filled the European capital with mixed feelings. A few hours after the European Union had celebrated its 60th anniversary, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk was receiving the letter that triggers Article 50, i.e. the beginning of the Brexit procedure. What will this unprecedented development mean for the EU and for the UK? Nobody knows for sure; read an analysis of the housing dimension.

At the same time we are happy and proud to announce the launch of the International Social Housing Festival, a global celebration of affordable housing for all that will take place 13-21 June in Amsterdam. Housing Europe is one of the founding partners of this unique event and will hold its annual conference and general assembly in the Dutch capital. Make sure that you get all the information below and that you register for our events in time.

Let us take you through a number of meetings where Housing Europe was present, including the latest EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership gathering, the lunch seminar at the European Parliament on ‘How to reach real energy efficiency of buildings in a cost-effective way’ and of course, to share with you the report from the most recent Working Committee meetings.

Before you start scrolling down, we invite you to make a stop in the ‘Articles & Publications’ section to watch the videos from the Social Platform fact-finding visit in Sweden, to check out the ‘Housing Exclusion’ report and to read how Greece may try to combat energy poverty.
Enjoy the read!

Quick Links 

The International Social Housing Festival kicks off
‘Affordable housing now, better communities tomorrow’

41 events organized by 30 partners, 8 different venues in the Dutch capital, more than 168 hours dedicated to a basic human right. The first celebration of the long tradition of decent, affordable housing for all is coming on June 13th in Amsterdam. Over 10 days the International Social Housing Festival (ISHF) will illustrate through conferences, workshops, lectures, tours, presentations, exhibitions, film screenings, debates, installations, activities for children and much more the added value of social housing for sustainable communities.

The themes of Migration to Cities, Segregation and Inequality and Diversification will work as the thread that brings the various event together under the Festival umbrella. The complete line up of events was announced during a kick-off event on March 23rd at the Museum Het Schip in Amsterdam by the Project Leader, Pepijn Bakker and is available on the Festival website.

The Secretary General of Housing Europe, Sorcha Edwards underlined in her intervention that when it comes to successful housing systems “you don’t know what you have you have until you lose it” and invited all participants and organizers to “make noise in support of affordable housing in a post-fact reality”.
Brexit: Housing Matters | Social Housing and the European Project

The formal initiation of the Brexit procedure brings a number of issues on the policy table with housing being one of them. British housing associations are united by a single purpose – to ensure that everyone can live in a quality home that they can afford. Whatever the final terms of EU exit turn out to be, they will continue to deliver homes and services that people need. Our member in the UK, the National Housing Federation (NHF) has prepared a roadmap on how to make a success of EU exit in housing.

Read more
The issues at stake clearly show that this conversation needs to be local but it also needs to go global. For this reason Housing Europe, beyond its function of monitoring and influencing EU law-making and working closely with the European Commission and Parliament on issues of importance to our Members, also facilitates exchange between members on what works at local level for example by working on land allocation policies or ‘housing first’ capacity building, while also engaging with the global policy community.
Housing Europe Secretary General stresses in her Brexit blog post that “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.”

Read more on our blog 
Housing goes to polls

In a year of national elections in many EU member states that also finds the Brexit procedure being formally triggered, housing holds a place on the priority list in the political agenda. We have put together an overview of the place of housing on the political agenda of national elections across Europe making the link with the respective campaigns Housing Europe members have been running.

Read more on our blog
Towards closer collaboration around housing in Europe

The first meeting of the EU Urban Agenda Housing partnership for 2017 took place on March 22-23, hosted by Vienna House in Brussels. Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards and Research Coordinator, Alice Pittini were there and share some of the highlights.

Read more on our website
Housing Europe Working Committees (*) 
What happened at the March 2017 meetings

The first Working Committee meetings of Housing Europe took place in Brussels in the beginning of March, a month that has been dedicated to a certain extent to energy. Therefore, the regular two-day meetup started with the ‘Getting our Homes future ready’ workshop that was held instead of the usual Energy and Construction Committee meeting addressing questions such as how can energy renovations become financially attractive? Why does the energy transition start at home and relies on every single tenant? How can housing providers and other building professionals escape the procurement labyrinth? How can the revised EU energy legislation deliver on skills and innovation?

Log in on our website to read more about the event and check out the detailed report of all committee meetings, including the presentations that were delivered during both days.
How to reach real energy efficiency of buildings in a cost-effective way?

In order to stimulate the dialogue in relation to the revision of the EED and the EPBD, MEPs, Jakop Dalunde and Fredrick Federley, in collaboration with Housing Europe, the European Property Federation (EPF) and International Union of Tenants (IUT) hosted a lunch seminar in the European Parliament on 22 March devoted to discussions on how the EED and the EPBD could promote a coherent and holistic approach to reducing energy use in buildings in a cost-effective way.

Check out the highlights of the debate on our website
The VAT treatment of the social housing sector - Housing Europe responds to the public consultation

Following the exchange within the Working Committees, Housing Europe has filed its response to the public consultation on the reform of VAT rates. The European Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing has asked to maintain the current system, adding the following…

Read our views on our website
The European Commission’s view on housing markets
The European Semester Country Reports
As part of the European Semester, the European Commission has recently published the country reports, which pave the way for the country specific recommendations proposed in May. The country reports are an analysis of the macroeconomic situations of the Member States. The situation is assessed against the indicators proposed under the macro economic imbalances scoreboard.

As far as the content of the reports is concerned, visit our website to find some snapshots, bearing in mind that all countries have a chapter on housing markets though.
The Joint report on employment and social inclusion
Housing is not only monitored for its impact on the macroeconomic performance of Member States (see European Semester) but also for its contribution to social progress in the EU. In the 2017 report on employment and social developments adopted by the Council of Ministers and in the 2015 Social protection performance monitor, housing affordability is considered as a trend to monitor. 

Read more
Cooperative innovation | Report from the 2nd edition of the Alfonso Vázquez Fraile awards

The ceremony of the 2nd Alfonso Vázquez Fraile Awards, on March 10th, brought together more than 200 representatives of the Spanish Cooperative Housing Movement to celebrate the diverse impact of the sector to the communities across the country.

The award aims to promote, through its different categories, exemplary cooperatives, managing authorities and supplier companies that contribute to the boost of cooperative housing.

Read the CONCOVI report on our blog
Germany: CEB loan for refugee housing

A € 100 million loan has been granted to Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB), a public development bank active primarily in the social housing sector. The CEB will support the IBB with a multi-sectoral loan programme aimed at the construction and renovation of social housing units. This loan will provide urgently needed accommodation, including for migrants and refugees.

Read more

Articles & Publications
Social Platform videos from fact-finding visit to Sweden

A delegation of Social Platform member organisations, including our Deputy Secretary General, Julien Dijol, paid a two-day fact-finding visit to South Sweden with a focus on successful inclusion projects. The mission that took place in mid-December 2016 has been starting point to the work that Social Platform will continue in 2017, to develop our recommendations to the European Union on economic inclusion of migrants.

Now, Social Platform has released a series of videos that are posted on a dedicated web page.

Watch the videos and find out more about the findings of the visit
Housing Exclusion in Europe

FEANTSA and the Fondation Abbé Pierre released the 2017 edition of their yearly Overview of Housing Exclusion in Europe. This year’s report that was launched with a two-day event in Brussels highlights the ongoing lack of comparable data on homelessness but those figures which are available reveal worrying upward trends in all EU Member States.

Speaking on the panel discussion Housing Europe Secretary General, Sorcha Edwards raised the importance of collaboration locally between housing providers, social services provider organisations working with the homeless to address current homelessness and prevent future evictions but stressed that political support of non-commodified housing providers - cooperative, public & social providers is vital to achieve this. Sorcha also stressed that the problem goes beyond the current capacity of social housing as the numbers of those facing exclusion from housing markets grows in many regions and requires a real change in gear and new vision.

Read and download the report
Energy poverty in Greece: Τhe need for social and green innovation

A policy paper “Energy poverty in Greece; Social innovation proposals to tackle the phenomenon” was recently published by the Heinrich Βöll Foundation Greece in collaboration with the social cooperative 'Wind of Renewal' and ΙΝΖΕΒ – the Institute of Zero Energy Buildings.

Former MEP (Greens) and President of 'Wind of Renewal', Nikos Chrysogelos presents in this guest post on our blog the main axes of the policy proposal that has been shared with the relevant decision makers, too.

Read more on our blog

ABRACADABRA 3rd International Workshop

The 3rd International Workshop of the ABRACADABRA was held on March 16th in Brussels with a focus on the regulatory aspects of activating a market for deep-renovation through building additions. The event identified incentives and mechanisms available, offered a platform for exchange concerning the success factors of deep renovation across Europe and explored the option to overcome urban planning and legal regulatory barriers at the local level.

On behalf of Housing Europe, Eva Bauer from GbV contributed to the panel discussion on regulation and renovation. Eva suggested that add-ons can work but there are limitations, for example if a lift is to be added the costs are not covered. Additionally, Eva stressed that it can work in areas of high demand while it is rather difficult otherwise.
Housing Europe would like in the context of the project to hear from other members who have experience with add-ons.

Visit the project website for more & feel free to get in touch with us to share your experience with add-ons.

Register now for our Annual Conference & General Assembly 2017
15-16 June in Amsterdam (*)

Housing Europe and Aedes invite you to register for the forthcoming annual conference and General Assembly taking place in Amsterdam on June 15th and 16th.

The Housing Europe Conference ‘Looking back, Moving Forward’ will give Housing Europe members an unmissable overview of the big changes and challenges facing the sector around Europe and concrete examples of innovative ways to manage those changes. On the following day, our General Assembly will elect our President, Board and Committee Chairs for the 2017- 2020 period and approve our Amsterdam Declaration ‘For a Society that Includes and Supports’.

Log in on our website to find out more & register
International Conference on legal aspects of housing
27-28 April, Tarragona, Spain

All legal aspects related to housing will be in the core of this international conference, for the first time organized by the UNESCO Housing Chair of University Rovira i Virgili and the Housing Rights Watch network of FEANTSA. The event will gather together a network of more than 40 Spanish researchers that have been working to study how to reform housing tenures to make access to housing more affordable, stable and flexible for households in a project called “Reforming housing tenures: the access to housing through tenancies, homeownership and their taxation”; and the Housing Rights Watch network of FEANTSA, a European interdisciplinary group of associations, lawyers and academics from different countries, who are committed to promoting the right to housing for all.

Find out more
Reducing Energy Poverty by Energy Efficiency Projects in Residential Buildings
Conference, 24-25 April, International Associations Centre, 40 rue Washington, 1050 Brussels

Habitat for Humanity International is organizing a conference on residential energy efficiency/energy poverty in Brussels on April 24-25. The conference, hosted by Tamas Meszerics and Benedek Jávor, MEPs, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, will bring together a network of practitioners  from the public, private, and NGO sectors as well as policy makers from Europe to discuss and share lessons, present project results and recommendations as well as adopt common approaches on addressing the issue of energy poverty and residential energy efficiency in Eastern Europe, also building on the experience of the Residential Energy Efficiency for Low Income Households (REELIH) Project.

Find out more & register
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