By Housing Europe
Why investing in public, cooperative and social housing is the best return on investment for Europe. The scope of Europe’s housing challenge, the housing providers’ offer, the needs in the post-2020 EU and Housing Europe’s proposals. Stay tuned with our campaign all the way up until May when the European Elections will take place.
I. Europe’s Housing Challenge
Although growth has returned to big parts of our continent, it is leaving many behind and our societies are increasingly unequal. Similarly, the recent ‘recovery’ in housing markets is far from benefiting everyone.
The current state of housing markets can be summarised as followed:
- Housing has become the highest expenditure for Europeans and overburden rates remain stable at high level, hitting disproportionally harder the poor. 4 out of 10 Europeans below the poverty line are overburdened by housing costs.
- House prices are growing faster than income levels in most Member States, while inequality and housing exclusion are mutually reinforcing. Broad target groups lack the possibility to enter the housing market like youth and migrants. Meanwhile mobility is limited due to high housing prices, which affect the opportunity to move for workers and families.
- Territorial divide is alarming, as finding adequate and affordable housing in places with job opportunities is increasingly hard. Shrinking cities and regions are quickly becoming a priority on the agenda of local and regional authorities.
- As the level of housing construction is still low, especially major cities face a structural housing shortage reinforced by recent waves of migration.
- Political response to Europe’s housing challenge remains poor, a fact reflected in increasing levels of homelessness and overall housing exclusion.
- Climate change is alarming. The housing sector is a major user of energy and materials. Penetration of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy in the housing sector should be facilitated while maintaining affordability for all. Building and construction materials make out a large proportion of Europe’s waste: waste handling for recycling and circular business models is needed.
II. What we offer | Why social, cooperative and cooperative housing matters?
1/ Growth for all
Social, cooperative and public housing providers do promote a variety of housing options for various target groups and housing needs (Housing First, social, affordable housing, targeted offer for elderly, young, migrants, etc., social mix). Affordable housing favours labour mobility too, which has an impact on local unemployment rate.
2/ Communities for all
Social, cooperative and public housing providers are partners for cities, urban and rural communities that can help deal with the most pressing challenges like urban sprawl and socio-spatial segregation.
3/ Not only a roof
Social, cooperative and public housing organisations provide social innovation, employment services, health services, digital inclusion to the residents, in order to improve their quality of life
4/ Leaders for a fair energy transition
Social, cooperative and public housing providers build nearly zero energy homes, renovate existing dwellings and promote the production of renewable energy, thus contributing to reduce CO2 emissions, energy bills and increase comfort and living conditions. Good handling of construction and renovation waste for recycling and circular business models is also on the agenda of housing providers. Thus, they contribute to achieve a fair energy transition and promote circular and decarbonised energy in the European Union.
III. What is needed?
1/ Stability for Evolution
Social, cooperative and public housing organisations need public investment and supportive legislations to build affordable and decent homes for those whose housing needs cannot be met by market providers.
2/ Cohesion for Fairness
EU funding programmes have to support social and territorial cohesion through better housing and adapted housing solutions, in particular by ensuring equal access to affordable housing between territories.
3/ Flexibility for Progress
EU tax, competition and internal market rules have to be supportive of the investment efforts made by social, cooperative and public housing organisations.
4/ Action for Fair Energy Transition
Climate objectives can only be achieved through a mix between energy savings and production of renewable energy (in particular in a decentralised approach); social, cooperative and public housing organisations should be further supported in leading the way forward.
5/ Support for Circular Economy
Using recycled material as inputs for new construction and renovation, improve information regarding the health impact of building materials are essential to move towards a sustainable and decarbonised economy.
Although housing policies are primarily a matter of national and local governments, the European Union has a role to play.
To be able to further support affordable housing and liveable communities in the EU, Housing Europe members call for…
- …download our detailed proposals below & support us #housingeu
- Stay tuned, our campaign will be unfolding with a lot of material for each of the above points over the course of the next months. Watch our video.
Housing Europe is the European Federation of Public, Cooperative & Social Housing. Since 1988 it is a network of 45 national & regional federations gathering 43.000 housing providers in 24 countries. Together they manage over 26 million homes, about 11% of existing dwellings in Europe.