Housing Europe News 05.09.2016
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After the summer break, the marks of the Brexit vote and on-going migration crisis are being strongly felt. While the G20 meet in Hangzhou, EU Member States prepare for an informal summit on the future of Europe in Bratislava on September 16th. With Housing Europe General Assembly & annual conference just a week away, our Newsletter is back in your mailbox aiming to help you reconnect with whatever you may have missed during your holiday and to help you prepare for whatever is coming over the next months.

The international conference “The Housing Policies of the future: How to make them work” is taking place on September 15
th at the UN European Headquarters, the Palace of Nations in Geneva and will bring together more than 80 stakeholders, including housing providers, representatives from a wide range of housing ministry representatives from the UNECE region, local authorities, international institutions, academia and from the civil society. It's one of the milestones in our work programme and a key moment for our Housing for All campaign in the countdown to Habitat III in October. Make sure you have all the information you need on your way, hopefully, to Geneva.

One of the follow-ups to the Geneva conference will be the establishment of a group of experts on housing policy and practice from within the Housing Europe membership & extended network to support the process of housing policy development in countries without a strong public, cooperative or social housing sector. Read more below about the first meeting of the group and how you can get involved as an expert.

We have tried to sum up the most important announcement made by the European Commission over the last couple of months that include measures related to the 2030 climate targets as well as new support mechanisms for urban development. 

We report on encouraging developments in certain member states, unfortunately overshadowed by the devastating earthquake in Italy. Apart from expressing our support in such difficult times we also report our member's reaction in the area, hoping that as many organisations and individuals will be able to provide any kind of help. 

Our "10' with" blog column has welcomed quite a few new faces in July and in August. We invite to browse through these interviews and also to have a look at the latest Eurofound report on inadequate housing.

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. 

Enjoy the read! 

Quick Links 

The Housing Policies of the future: How to make them work
Europe’s public, cooperative and social housing providers come together with decision makers of the UNECE region and the Slovak Presidency of the EU for an international conference on 15 September in Geneva with the ambition to showcase the impact of successful housing policies.
Many countries in Europe are at the crossroads of reforming their housing systems under pressure of an extended housing crisis; more affordable homes are needed. How can the policy makers respond to these changing needs? What is the right policy mix? The conference “The Housing Policies of the future: How to make them work” is taking place on September 15th at the UN European Headquarters, the Palace of Nations in Geneva and will bring together more than 80 stakeholders, including housing providers, representatives from a wide range of housing ministry representatives from the UNECE region, local authorities, international institutions, academia and from the civil society.
Better EU policies for more and better homes should just be based on what works and this is why this capacity building event will share these ideas that are already in place and will generate concrete policy suggestions on issues that directly or indirectly affect the housing policies of all member states.

Read more to check the agenda and the line-up of speakers
European Commission recommendations on promotion of NZEBs

In the end of July the European Commission released its guidelines for the promotion of Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) and best practices that, by 2020, all new buildings are NZEBs. 

As the EPBD review is due during the last quarter of 2016 and given the particular attention paid to energy efficiency policy, the Commission published the following recommendations:
  • Set national definition of NZEBs sufficiently ambitious based on proposed benchmark energy performances of NZEBs according on climatic zones
  • Member States should assess at the earliest whether adaption of existing practices is needed
  • Synergies among policies, support measures and NZEBs are advisable
  • Member States should furthermore focus on the refurbishment of existing building stocks towards NZEBs levels.
More ways to support sustainable urban projects
During the summer break the European Commission launched a new financial instrument focusing on urban development that offers additional tools that could be useful to Housing Europe members, too.

The instrument called ‘Urban development funds’ will support sustainable urban projects, in the areas of public transport, energy efficiency or the regeneration of urban areas. The instrument is a support that derives from the European Structural and Investment Funds.

There are certain eligibility requirements that need to be fulfilled. Check them out in the summary we have prepared on our website
How can social housing providers help to improve the lives of LGBT+ people? A research from the UK

Housing providers are champions of equality and diversity. They have the values, resources and commitment to improve visibility, housing, safety and wellbeing outcomes for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT+) people in communities in the UK.

For 20 years, British housing and LGBT+ organisations and academic researchers have been identifying the opportunities for housing providers to do just that. This year a piece of research was designed to bring their evidence and learning together, to equip UK housing organisations with the information, advice and support that they need to be able to take their next steps on the journey towards LGBT+ inclusion.

Read the key challenges as well as the main recommendation of the research. Lucy Pedrick, the author of the study, has prepared a summary for our blog
European Parliament Question on rent certainty in Ireland

Irish MEP Liadh Ní Riada (GUE/NGL) has filed a parliamentary question on rent certainty in her home country. The representative of Sinn Féin raised 3 key issues after highlighting the fact that “the crisis is exacerbated by unprecedented rent increases”:
  • Has the Commission received communications from the Irish Government about the rent crisis?
  • Does the Commission accept that the absence of rent certainty in Ireland has deepened the crisis?
  • Does the Commission agree that legislation on rent certainty would bring Ireland into line with other Member States and mark an important first step in tackling the housing and homelessness crisis?
The European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Pierre Moscovici replied that “the Commission monitors the evolution of prices, supply and demand of housing in Ireland, given both its social and macro-economic relevance. The 2016 Country Report on Ireland considers these issues in detail, including rent affordability and homelessness”. It is important to note that in his response Mr. Moscovici, inter alia, also makes the case that “only durable solution to rent affordability and the scarcity of housing is to build an adequate supply”.

Read the full text of both the question and the answer
European Commission proposes 2030 Member State climate targets

On 20 July the Commission presented a package of measures that are supposed to accelerate the transition to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy in Europe. This new proposal sets how member states would achieve emission reductions in transport, buildings and agriculture by 2030. The idea is that each member state will contribute towards the 2030 target via a binding, national reduction goal, calculated on the basis of their GDP per capita.

In October 2014, the Heads of State or Government of the EU set a binding economy-wide domestic emissions reduction target of at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990.

Read more on the European Commission website
Some words of support after Amatrice...

Following the shocking earthquake in Amatrice the President of Housing Europe, Marc Calon sent some words of support to our colleagues in Italy:

“Our thoughts are with all, our Italian friends and colleagues after this. We are really saddened by this unexpected and unpreventable tragedy we are seeing unfolding in the news. 
 Warmest regards and wishes on behalf of colleagues across Europe in these difficult times.”

Rossana Zaccharia, the newly elected President of Legacoop Abitanti also shared a few thoughts after this tragic incident:

“This sad event has re-opened a discussion in Italy on the quality of the construction and housing sector and the government is announcing a Housing Plan to renovate and improve the quality, not only in the area. At the same time our national Organization has already been active with many different cooperatives giving a concrete help and has opened a Fund Raising.”
Find out more (in Italian)
Albania: Call for Experts - Housing Europe to share experience and advice on housing systems and practice

The National Housing Agency of Albania, a Housing Europe member, organises a one-day conference “The Housing For All campaign and the role of Housing Associations from the South to the North of Europe”, which will take place on 3 October, 2016, in Tirana, Albania.

Hosted on the World Habitat Day, the conference will get together policy makers and social, cooperative and public houses providers from South to North of Europe to support the process of housing policy development in countries without a strong public, cooperative or social housing sector. In addition, the Conference will discuss the role of Housing Organizations vis-à-vis the “Housing For All” campaign, Sustainable Development Goals and Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing. 

Experts on housing policy and practice from within the Housing Europe membership or external experts recommended by members are invited to support the process of housing policy development in countries without a strong public, cooperative or social housing sector. To foster the establish of representative bodies and provide support which are in their early days.

Find out more & Download the invitation sent to Housing Europe members by our colleague, Doris Andoni, General Director of NHA.
Juncker Plan Housing Finance considers Grant for social housing in Wales

The project can be summarized as a Welsh Government commitment of £9,000,000 revenue over 30 years to Registered Social Landlords and Local Housing Authorities to deliver up to 2,000 new affordable homes.

There is a significant shortage of affordable homes in Wales and this Housing Finance Grant (HFG) is designed to help build additional affordable homes. Under the grant scheme, the organisations borrow 100% of the capital cost of funding housebuilding projects; HFG then reimburses them with 58% of the borrowing costs over 30 years. The Welsh
Government assists the organisations with the development of a collective finance product to achieve more affordable borrowing.

More details

Articles & Publications
10 minutes with... - Our summer interviews

Every month we introduce you to one of the people leading the work of our member organisations. In July, in August and in the beginning of September we travelled to Estonia, Hungary, Germany and the UK and we've added 5 more interviews under our "10 with" blog column. The first 20 interviews will be published in a magazine that will be distributed to Housing Europe members in Geneva. This is just the first volume, since this column is still a work in progress, open to all of our members across Europe. 
Read on our blog our interviews with:
Eurofound report: Inadequate housing in Europe

Inadequate and poor housing is costing EU economies nearly €194 billion per year in terms of both direct costs associated with healthcare and related medical or social services, as well as indirect costs such as lost productivity and reduced opportunities. This is according to Eurofound’s latest report Inadequate housing in Europe: Costs and consequences that also comes up with suggestions regarding the benefits of improvements.

The publication was initiated by the European Parliament Own Initiative Report on "Social Housing in the European Union" in 2013 that was calling Eurofound to carry out a study examining the cost of non-action on inadequate housing.

We have had a look at the report on our website
The EIB EU Urban Agenda Toolbox

The European Investment Bank (EIB) works on a range of Urban Agenda-related initiatives to share knowledge with local and regional decision-makers in order to improve access to funds and help them use existing funds more effectively.

The EIB has provided 95 billion Euros in urban lending over the last five years and is extending that financing to projects with a higher risk under the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the so called “Juncker Plan”.

Check out the EU Urban Agenda Toolbox they have issued over summer
Report: Energy Transition of the EU Building Stock

The report entitled “Energy Transition of the EU Building Stock - Unleashing the 4th Industrial Revolution in Europe” aims to support the on-going review/revision of EU climate and energy policy instruments. The objective is to contribute to making 2016 the year of delivery for EU instruments aiming to reduce building’s energy consumption and their related GHG emissions.

The report, issued by the OpenExp global network of independent experts, estimates the EU energy renovation market at EUR 109 billion in 2015 and 882,900 jobs. It shows that the size of the EU energy renovation market could increase by almost half the current energy renovation market if a 40% energy savings target is adopted for 2030. This would lead to more than one million additional jobs.

Read and download the full text

ENLIGHTEN Summer School
Brussels, 19 - 23 September 2016

Hosted by the European Trade Union Confederation the Summer School of the ENLIGHTEN project, in which Housing Europe is a partner, will examine the state, potential and limits of socioeconomic governance in Europe in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

The four working days will be each devoted to a specific research theme:
  • Social Dialogue in the Crisis Aftermath
  • Regaining Trust through Financial Sustainability
  • The welfare Union in question: healthcare and social housing?
  • Youth, Employment and Demographic Change in Europe
The summer school is open, in short, to a broad range of participants, including PhD researchers, MA students and Young Leaders, as long as there is clear relevance of the summer school for their academic or professional concerns.

Find out more
EU LIFE Workshop: A chance for green business, innovation and job creation preserving the environment
Brussels, 12 October 2016

LIFE is the EU's dedicated funding programme for environment and climate action. This Workshop, taking place within the framework of the programme, organised by Committee of the Regions, ENVE Commission & European Commission, DG Environment will showcase best practices of LIFE projects carried out or supported by local and regional authorities, focusing on the new category of LIFE integrated projects and projects that support the circular economy. It will look at how the projects successfully managed to support local and regional green business, innovation and job creation, and the implementation of EU environment legislation.

More information & Online Registration
The PeakApp Project: Developing an energy saving app
The Energy Institute at the Johannes Kepler University Linz is leading a €2 million European project to develop an ICT ecosystem, which will enable households to save money by consuming renewable energy when it is available at cheaper rates i.e. when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining.

The new PEAKapp ICT ecosystem enables energy retailers to forward low-price, green, low-carbon energy from the spot market to households. By using the PEAKapp, customers learn how to adapt their energy consumption behaviour and how to actively participate in the electricity market to benefit from monetary savings.

PEAKapp, standing for „Personal Energy Administration Kiosk application: an ICT-ecosystem for Energy Savings through Behavioural Change, Flexible Tariffs and Fun“, represents leading research institutes, large energy suppliers & retailers as well as small and medium sized IT companies from 7 countries including Turkey.

Find more information on:

Housing Europe Annual Get Together (*)
General Assembly 2016 and International Conference on Housing Policies

With many countries evaluating different housing policy choices, Housing Europe joins forces with the UNECE, Housing Cooperatives International and the Slovakian Presidency of the EU for an international policy exchange conference that aims to deliver a roadmap of suggestions for the housing policies of our future in Europe and beyond.

The General Assembly this year will dedicate time for Members to update each other on key developments and to define together key elements of our strategy going forward to 2020 and beyond. Be part in this team effort!

Finally, just before your departure we have planned a visit to housing projects in the city of Geneva that will give you a better understanding of the cooperatives are dealing with the affordability challenge in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Looking forward to seeing you in Geneva!

Get all the information you need
TENLAW Conference: One year later - Alternative housing tenures in Europe & modern challenges of housing
Taragona, Spain, 29 September 2016
The “Tenancy Law and Housing Policy in a Multi-level Europe” (TENLAW) research Project provided the first large-scale comparative and European law survey of tenancy law. 27 research institutions from all over Europe were involved and the results of this project were presented at a concluding conference in Budapest in September 2015. The next conference in September 2016 will take a second look at the research results of the TENLAW project one year later with a focus on so called “alternative housing tenures” in Europe.

Find out more and register
Conference: Social Pillar- From theory to practice
European Parliament, Brussels, September 28th

What is currently already covered by the European social acquis and what should be further addressed? What should the Commission and Member States do to ensure the full implementation of the pillar and the enforcement of social rights throughout the EU? The conference hosted by the European Greens at the European Parliament aims to provide with questions to the key questions around the Social Pillar as the European Commission proposal for European Pillar of Social Rights is known.

Find out more and register
Conference: Setting the EU vision - NZEB Building Stock by 2050
Brussels, October 13th
The EU’s major buildings regulations are coming under review this autumn with the Energy Efficiency Package. Within this framework Renovate Europe is organising its REDay 2016 on a vision for the EU NZE Building Stock by 2050.
The event will evolve around two basic pillars:
  1. How an NZEB Building Stock by 2050 can deliver jobs and growth
  2. Making NZEB a reality on the ground
In the afternoon participants will have the chance to visit two renovation projects in Brussels.

Find out more and register
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