Housing Europe Newsletter 30.01.2015
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The first month of 2015 comes to an end and Housing Europe after establishing its position in all important policy exchange platforms, including the European Parliament URBAN Intergroup is offering you an overview of the latest political developments at national level across the EU thanks to its members’ contribution.

Before hitting the road for this stroll around Europe that includes stops in Poland, Wales and Greece, we invite you to save the date for the upcoming meetings of the Housing Europe Working Committees. You may find the draft agendas below.
Once you have saved the dates, please allow us to fly you all the way to China to have a look at the ‘world’s tallest 3D-printed building.’

As always stay tuned with the latest developments regarding the European Projects Housing Europe is taking part in and check out our listing of events you may be interested in attending.

Last but not least we are happy to announce that from now on we will be sharing with you the Housing Europe agenda of all meetings, so that you can follow the everyday work of the Brussels team.

Before start reading, please allow us to give you a tip:
Go to the homepage of (ideally using any other browser than Internet Explorer) and log in by clicking on the lock on the top right side using your credentials. You will then be able to access all links that are for members only (indicated with *).

Housing Europe Working Committee Meetings Agenda-
9-10 March in Brussels (*)

The next meetings of the Housing Europe Working Committees will take place in Brussels at the premises of Social Platform on March 9th and 10th.
Please follow the link to get the draft agenda of each committee meeting and to register to the ones you wish to attend by February 13th!
Andres Jaadla new Committee of the Regions member

The Housing Europe Board member, Andres Jaadla, our Estonian Colleague from EKÜL has been elected as a member of the Committee of the Regions for the next 5 years, until January 2020.

Andres will be following the work of the ENVE, COTER & ECOS working committees, providing our network with important insights from the EU Institution that is the voice of regions and cities in the European Union. It now has 353 members - regional and locally elected representatives from the 28 EU countries.
Thousands of Poles hit by Swiss franc decision- Our member, ZRSMRP explains

The decision of the Swiss Central Bank to scrap its currency cap has had major repercussions in the EU’s largest eastern member state, Poland. The move saw the Swiss franc jump to 4.32 zlotys from 3.53, a rise of more than 21 % and the most significant in comparison to other European currencies.

For a household, it means that the average monthly instalment, which was around 2,000 zlotys in October 2014, suddenly jumped by a fifth.

Piotr Jasniewicz  of our Polish member organisation, ZRSMRP, comments:

‘Poles who have loans taken in Swiss Franc may have big problems with repayment of it, especially if the current exchange rate of the Swiss currency will be at the same level for a long time – that’s what Polish experts said. Rapid exchange rate of Swiss Franc influences about 1 million Poles who decided to take a loan in francs.

The Financial Stability Commission of Poland recommended to the banks the use of restructuring solutions tailored to individual needs and abilities of each client and their adaptation to current market conditions. The necessity of keeping in touch with customers with foreign currency mortgages, especially those who are struggling with their repayment.’

Read more on EU Observer
Turning empty properties into affordable homes in London- NHF is doing the math...

In London the Mayor has partnered with Big Issue Invest to turn empty properties into affordable homes. This initiative will help homelessness and people in long-term unemployment to gain skills in the construction trade whilst at the same time stimulating house building and renovation.

Working with small community organisations the scheme will bring 400 empty homes back into use in the next 10 years. The main benefit of the scheme is to invest in training and employment for people who would otherwise struggle to generate an income.

This initiative sits alongside the wider housing initiatives of the Mayor. Housing associations, as part of the Mayor’s Housing Covenant Programme 2015-2018, committed to deliver 24,130 new homes, that equates to over 8,000 new affordable homes per annum. Housing associations already play an important role in delivering affordable homes across London and the forward commitment demonstrates their positive response to stepping up the supply of affordable homes in London.

The overall housing target in the Mayor’s housing strategy aims to deliver 42,000 new homes per annum for London with 40% in the affordable housing market (16,800), delivered by housing associations and London boroughs. These will include properties for affordable rent (60% = 10,080) and properties for sale (40% = 6,720) to help people into home ownership.
Community Housing Cymru Group (CHC) comments on Right to Buy announcement
CHC welcomed the proposals to end the Right to Buy in Wales following Lesley Griffiths' latest announcement.

Stuart Ropke, Group Chief Executive of CHC said: 'We welcome these proposals to end the Right to Buy in Wales but, to some extent, this measure closes the stable door after the horse has bolted. Around 130,000 council homes have been bought under Right to Buy since 1980 which has had a huge impact on the supply of affordable housing. However, in recent years, there has been a dramatic slowdown in Right to Buy sales. The Legislative Competence Order already allows Welsh Ministers to allow councils to refuse Right to Buy requests in areas where there is high demand for affordable housing.'

Read more
Printing buildings in one day!

The Shanghai-based construction firm WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has unveiled a five-story apartment building made entirely with a giant 3D printer, and is calling it "the world’s tallest 3D-printed building.” With a terra cotta brick-like exterior, the building is on display at the Suzhou Industrial Park, along with a 1,100-square-meter 3D-printed neoclassical mansion.

The buildings were made with a patented “ink” created from a mixture of recycled construction waste, coursed through a 150-meter long printer. This is the same technology that the company demonstrated last year when it printed 10 affordable single-story houses in 24 hours, a feat that captured the imagination of architects, humanitarian aid agencies, and governments looking for alternative housing solutions.
See more pictures and watch an impressive video produced by the Associated Press.

The Greek National Strategy for Social Inclusion- 
A key challenge to boost policies on social housing and tackle homelessness

The development of sound social solidarity trajectories for people at high risk of poverty and exclusion constitutes a key challenge for the rudimentary Greek Welfare State in the context of the sharp financial crisis that affects Greece and its implications during the implementation of the First (May 2010) and the Second Financial Stabilisation Mechanism of the Greek Economy (February 2012).

It represents a major policy issue in the debate on the reform of traditional social security schemes, given that it may affect a broad range of interested target groups (pensioners, elderly long term unemployed, welfare claimants), already hit by austerity measures.

Greece attempts to restart its welfare state by introducing activation, empowerment and sustainability as key principles in its National Strategy for Social Inclusion.

Read more in the guest blog post by the Coordinator of the Strategy, Professor Gabriel Amitsis.
NABCO publishes Housing Sentiment Survey

Our Irish member organisation, NABCO (National Association of Building Co-operatives Society) has recently published its Housing Sentiment Survey for the last quarter of 2014.

The research provides with interesting figures regarding tenants in private rental accomodation, social renting and makes the link between the 2015 budget and housing.

Among other trends revealed it is important to note that 23% of tenants are afraid of losing the accommodation (highest amongst those with household income <€20k – 45% and those in Dublin – 38%).

Please contact Dermot Sellars for more information and for access to the key findings

The role of housing providers in tackling youth povert- A joint study with the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research

Housing Europe joins forces with the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research is carrying on a study looking at what works in tackling poverty amongst young people who do not live in the parental home, with a focus on the role that housing providers can play.
The research will produce practice-oriented research and help identifying effective measures in preventing and alleviating youth poverty, in the UK and beyond. Housing Europe is partner in the project and we intend to use it as an opportunity to exchange good practices among our member organizations and learn from each other

Read more on our website
Housing Europe is "building up"

Housing Europe has become official partner of the largest and most renowned platform of expertise exchange on energy reduction in buildings.

BUILD UP is a web portal, intended to reap the benefits of Europe's collective intelligence on energy reduction in buildings through exchange of best practices, knowledge, tools & resources.
Housing Europe is one of the expert contributors to the portal and will be feeding it with news from its network.

Experience Co-Production at the next ELOSH project meeting  

The philosophy and the concept of co-production is at the core the ELOSH project, in which Housing Europe is among the partners. The ELOSH approach is to co-produce those training modules with citizens to make them identify what services they need.

The overall aim is to transfer innovative learning outcomes and specific training material on housing and integrated support to tailored made training at local level in 7 EU member states.

If you want to see the practical implementation of this concept, you’re invited to the next ELOSH transpartnership meeting that will take place in Amsterdam on February 17th and 18th. If you wish to participate at the Co-production workshop that will take place on Tuesday, February 17th at 9.30, please contact the Housing Europe Communications Officer, Michalis Goudis

Housing Europe is present- Stay tuned with the Housing Europe monthly calendar (*)

Follow all meetings, conferences and workshops the Housing Europe team in Brussels and the Housing Europe President, Marc Calon are attending every month.

Furthermore, keep yourselves informed about all the presentations delivered by the Housing Europe representatives at various events across the EU.

View, export or synchronize with our calendar
URBACT III on the starting line

The official launch of the URBACT III programme is taking place in Brussels on 16 March 2015, with the participation of Corina Crețu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy and Raphael Le Méhauté, Head of the URBACT Managing Authority.

This event is an opportunity to:
• Learn about URBACT, the features of the new programme and our plans for the first call for proposals to be launched in March
• Hear about the experience and achievements of partner cities involved in URBACT networks
• Meet urban practitioners, former URBACT partners, the URBACT Secretariat and potential partners for your next URBACT network proposal!
For more information please visit the URBACT webpage 
Finance Watch Conference: "The long term financing agenda – the way to sustainable growth?"

Finance Watch invites you to a conference on Capital Markets Union, good securitisation, the ubiquitous role of collateral and alternative paths to jobs and growth. The event is taking place in Brussels on February 4th, 2015.

How would reviving securitisation affect the EU's financial plumbing? What is good securitisation? What should be the focus of the jobs and growth agenda?

Find out more about the event and register
European Biomass Association lauches call for speakers

The European Biomass Association calls for speakers at its event on the use of biomass in social housing sector. The conference takes place in Brussels on March 16th, 2015, the working language is English and travel costs will be covered.
Main outline of the event:
organised by AEBIOM on March 16th afternoon in Brussels (place still to be confirmed)
  • part of AEBIOM campaign “biomass counts”
  • focused on energy costs with one part on housings (concrete examples explaining the benefits of switching from fossil to biomass for households) and one part on companies (concrete examples of companies who have switched from fossil to biomass for the process and gained competitiveness thanks to this switch).
In this context, EBA would be interested in having a presentation of a concrete case of this switch in social housings explaining, among others
  1. the reasons for the switch
  2. the challenges that were faced
  3. the  political and financial support needed 
  4. the benefits of the switch and the  possible replication of the project.
Aedes celebrates 1st National Rental Day

Our Dutch Association of Housing Corporation and member organisation of Housing Europe, Aedes has announced its initiative to organise the 1st National Rental Day on September 12th, 2015. 

At the same time Aedes representatives have shared that they will co-organize it next year with the Woonbond. We will keep you posted with all relevant updates.

You may watch the promotional video that was published earlier this week
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