Housing Europe Observatory and The State of the Housing in Europe

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Housing Europe Observatory and The State of the Housing in Europe

Policies and regulations Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Housing Europe Observatory, it serves as a key resource for data, statistics, and best practices in public, cooperative, and social housing across the continent. Their biennial "State of Housing in Europe" report provides comprehensive insights into housing conditions continent-wide, with each edition focusing on a specific theme.

Date

  • 1998: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Housing Europe

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Belgium, Brussels

Description

Housing Europe, the European Federation of Public, Cooperative, and Social Housing, has been a pivotal network since its establishment in 1988, comprising 42 national and regional federations, along with 15 partnering organizations across 31 European countries. Collectively, they oversee approximately 25 million homes, representing about 11% of the continent's existing dwellings. Their collective vision entails ensuring access to decent and affordable housing for all, fostering socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable communities that empower individuals to realize their full potential.

The Housing Europe Observatory, initiated over 25 years ago, serves as the research arm of the Federation and serves as a primary source for data, statistics, and key insights into public, cooperative, and social housing throughout Europe. The Observatory produces specialized reports covering various aspects such as social housing for young people, addressing vacant housing, financing social housing projects, and accommodating aging populations within social housing complexes. These reports are enriched with exemplary practices drawn from Housing Europe's partners.

A cornerstone of their research efforts is the biennial "State of Housing in Europe" report, which provides a comprehensive overview of housing conditions across European countries. Each edition focuses on a specific theme; for instance, the 2023 report delved into the role of public, cooperative, and social housing in facilitating a fair energy transition and mitigating the impacts of the current cost of living crisis on residents and communities.

Together, the Housing Europe Observatory and the "State of Housing in Europe" report serve as vital sources of information, offering unparalleled insights into the functioning and performance of the social housing sector across Europe.

OECD Affordable Housing Database

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OECD Affordable Housing Database

Policies and regulations Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The OECD Affordable Housing Database (AHD) provides comprehensive insights into affordable housing across member countries, EU states, and key partners. Organized into three dimensions—housing market, conditions, and public policies—the AHD enables easy comparison of indicators like stock, prices, homelessness rates, and policy measures. This robust dataset aids policymakers in evaluating and improving access to affordable housing globally.

Date

Stakeholders

  • OECD

Location

Country/Region:

Description

The OECD stands out as one of the largest international organizations globally, championing growth and development and representing some of the world's most significant economies. Beyond its economic role, the OECD serves as a leading authority on policy analysis and data. Recognizing housing as a top priority for its members, the OECD has been advocating for a more comprehensive analysis of affordable housing realities.

In response to this need, the OECD Affordable Housing Database (AHD) was established. This database serves the dual purpose of enabling countries to monitor access to high-quality, affordable housing and enhancing the knowledge base for policy evaluation. It aggregates cross-national information from OECD countries, Key Partners, and EU member states.

The AHD organizes indicators across three main dimensions: housing market, housing conditions and affordability, and public policies related to affordable housing. Under the housing market dimension, indicators cover aspects such as housing stock, prices, and tenure distribution. The housing conditions dimension encompasses metrics ranging from overburden rates to the ability to maintain adequate warmth in housing, along with statistics on homelessness. The third dimension, public policies, focuses on variables such as the provision of social housing, subsidies, and regulatory frameworks.

Each indicator within the database offers data, relevant definitions, methodologies, and key findings. This structured approach allows for easy comparison of different countries and their respective affordable housing situations. Furthermore, the indicators address issues of comparability, data reliability, and may include raw data or descriptive information across countries.

In summary, the OECD Affordable Housing Database offers a reliable and comprehensive dataset on affordability within the world's most influential economies, facilitating informed policy decisions and international comparisons.

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

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Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is a dynamic research and policy partnership committed to ending homelessness in Canada and beyond. With its flagship projects like the Homeless Hub and the Systems Planning Collective, it offers comprehensive resources and guidance to empower stakeholders at all levels. By emphasizing accessibility and practicality in its approach, the COH continues to lead the charge in leveraging research for tangible action and positive change.

Date

  • 2008: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • York University
  • Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: Canada, Toronto

Description

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, under the leadership of President & CEO Stephen Gaetz, is a non-partisan research and policy partnership involving academics, decision-makers, service providers, and individuals with lived experiences of homelessness. Initially established as the Canadian Homelessness Research Network in 2008 through funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, it has since evolved into a global leader in homelessness solutions and knowledge mobilization practices.

Going beyond the traditional role of a research institute, the COH collaborates with partners to conduct research aimed at influencing solutions to homelessness. With a focus on bridging the gap between research, policy, and practice, it supports service providers, policymakers, and governments in enhancing their capacity to address homelessness effectively.

One of its flagship projects is the Homeless Hub, renowned as the largest library of homelessness research globally. Originally launched in 2007 with 500 resources, it underwent a redesign in 2018 to provide access to over 30,000 resources, including plain-language reports, tools, and frameworks. Notably, the Homeless Hub serves as a vital tool for policymakers, offering a wealth of information on homelessness policies, case studies, and best practices. Additionally, it functions as a data portal, offering comprehensive community profiles detailing homelessness data for each Canadian province and outlining effective policies for ending homelessness.

What distinguishes the COH from other online libraries or databases is its approach to research material. Emphasizing accessibility and practicality, it presents evidence-based research in clear language, along with actionable recommendations. This commitment to making homelessness research readily available to all underscores the belief that solutions should be grounded in research.

In addition to the Homeless Hub, the COH oversees other noteworthy initiatives, such as the Systems Planning Collective. Developed in partnership with A Way Home Canada and HelpSeeker, this collective is dedicated to assisting communities and governments in preventing and ending homelessness through evidence-based systems planning. Through comprehensive modules covering both basic and advanced systems planning, the collective provides tools and resources to support communities across Canada in improving local outcomes related to homelessness.

In conclusion, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness stands as a beacon of collaboration and innovation in the field of homelessness research and policy. Through initiatives like the Homeless Hub and the Systems Planning Collective, it empowers communities, policymakers, and service providers with the knowledge and tools necessary to enact meaningful change. By continuing to bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice, the COH remains steadfast in its commitment to ending homelessness and improving the lives of individuals and families across Canada.

Links

State of Homelessness (US)

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State of Homelessness (US)

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations National policies Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact Evictions

Main objectives of the project

The National Alliance to End Homelessness produces the influential "State of Homelessness" report, using HUD data to assess and analyze homelessness nationwide, while also evaluating emergency services and risk factors that might lead to homelessness.

Date

  • 2023: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • National Alliance to End Homelessness

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: United States of America

Description

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated solely to eradicating homelessness in the United States. Utilizing research and data, they seek solutions to homelessness, collaborating with federal and local partners to establish robust policies and resources supporting these solutions. Subsequently, they assist communities in implementing these strategies. Annually, they produce the "State of Homelessness" report.

This report relies on data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to offer an overview of homelessness in the U.S. on a given night in 2022 and highlight emerging trends. Drawing from HUD's Point-in-Time (PIT) Count and Housing Inventory Count data, the NAEH organizes and analyzes the information.

Through this process, the NAEH obtains a count of homelessness in each U.S. state while also evaluating the state of emergency services and assistance available to homeless individuals. This comparison between the number of people experiencing homelessness and the aid accessible to them is crucial. Additionally, they consider risk factors contributing to homelessness, such as rent burden, which helps forecast potential increases in the homeless population.

In summary, the NAEH's "State of Homelessness" report stands as the premier nationwide assessment of this pressing issue, providing invaluable insights into the state of homelessness across the country.

Housing Solutions Lab, US

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Housing Solutions Lab, US

Mismatches
Policies and regulations Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Housing Solutions Lab, part of the NYU Furman Center, assists small and midsize cities in developing, implementing, and assessing evidence-based housing policies that promote racial equity, enhance access to opportunities, and enhance the long-term health and well-being of residents.

Date

  • 2024: En proceso

Stakeholders

  • NYU Furman Center
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: United States of America

Description

While larger and coastal cities tend to dominate national housing discussions, small and midsize cities—defined as those with populations between 50,000 and 500,000—encounter their own set of intricate housing challenges. These challenges range from disinvestment and concentrated poverty to housing instability and affordability gaps. However, small and midsize cities also present fertile ground for innovation. They often exhibit greater agility and less bureaucratic red tape compared to larger cities, enabling them to more effectively involve higher levels of leadership, gain recognition for promising strategies, and foster trust and engagement within their communities. Nonetheless, they may lack the philanthropic and corporate support enjoyed by larger cities, as well as the necessary staffing, resources, and access to data, best practices, or specialized expertise required to develop and implement effective housing responses. Additionally, the affordability crisis in rental housing disproportionately impacts people of color, who are more likely to be renters, exacerbating existing disparities in homeownership rates between white, Black, and Latino households, which are already pronounced in larger cities and even more pronounced in small and midsize cities.

Recognizing these challenges, the NYU Furman Center established the Housing Solutions Lab—an interdisciplinary team of housing research and policy experts housed within the NYU Furman Center, a collaborative initiative between the NYU School of Law and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Through its Local Housing Solutions website and Lab Notes blog, the Lab provides a plethora of housing policy resources, data tools, cases of study and analyses. Furthermore, it facilitates peer learning opportunities for city leaders, furnishes access to local housing and neighborhood data, conducts rigorous research and evaluations, and offers technical assistance to cities striving to achieve their housing policy objectives. Continually seeking opportunities for collaboration, the Lab endeavors to support local government leaders, researchers, and other housing stakeholders in pursuing equitable, evidence-based housing policy goals.

In addition to providing strategies, data, case studies, and other innovative solutions, the Lab spearheads two main initiatives. Firstly, it administers The Peer Cities Network—a year-long program that convenes leaders from small and midsize cities to explore housing policy research, innovative practices, and avenues for achieving local housing objectives. Secondly, it conducts the Housing Solutions Workshop—an intensive three-week training program offered annually to teams of housing leaders from small and midsize cities, equipping participants with the skills necessary to develop comprehensive local housing strategies.

HomeLab: Integrating social housing and employment

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HomeLab: Integrating social housing and employment

Mismatches Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Local policies Public-private initiatives
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

Facing the housing problems also means facing a vulnerability issue. Without giving people the empowerment to maintain themselves, housing will continue to be an issue for those who struggle to get a job or who need social services support. For this reason, HomeLab designed a Social Rental Enterprise model that has been implemented in four Central European countries – Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The model integrates the needs people face in the labour market and in the housing system.
HomeLab is funded under EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).

Date

  • 2019:

Stakeholders

  • Metropolitan Research Institute (Városkutatás Kft.)
  • EASI programme
  • FEANTSA
  • Habitat Poland
  • Romodrom
  • Hungarian Charity Service of Malta

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Budapest
Country/Region: Budapest, Hungary

Description

The Social Rental Enterprise (SRE) model builds upon the foundation laid by existing Social Rental Agencies (SRAs) in various EU countries, including Belgium, Ireland, Italy, and France. These SRAs serve as vital mediators between private landlords and individuals facing housing challenges, facilitating affordable rental agreements for low-income tenants while providing assurances to landlords.

Expanding upon this groundwork, the Social Rental Enterprise model recognizes the intrinsic connection between housing and employment issues. It operates on the premise that addressing both concurrently is crucial for empowering individuals to maintain their homes and secure sufficient income. By integrating labor and social services with housing support, the SRE endeavors to break the cycle of poverty and bolster the sustainability of intervention outcomes, aiming to reinforce one another.

The SRE's core assumption is that enabling clients and their families to support themselves is essential for successful integration. By simultaneously addressing labor market and housing integration, the SRE strives to enhance clients' abilities to enter and sustain positions in the housing and labor markets. The provision of additional social services within the SRE framework further enhances clients' prospects for improved stability and security in these realms.

In the realm of housing services, the Social Rental Enterprise (SRE) functions either as the overseer of municipal housing stock, particularly if it owns or operates social housing on behalf of the municipality, or as an intermediary, facilitating agreements between landlords and tenants. As an intermediary, the SRE plays a crucial role in resolving issues such as stock availability, trust concerns, or excessive deposits. It acts as a guarantor for rent payments to landlords and offers affordable solutions to tenants.

Regarding labor services, the SRE operates along two axes: in-country labor mobility and local labor market integration. In regions with high labor demand, whether skilled or unskilled, there is a concerted effort to relocate potential employees from areas with limited job opportunities. This may involve not only interregional mobility but also assisting individuals in moving from remote towns with weak transport links to urban centers with a higher demand for labor. Employment services encompass networking with local employers, assessing human resource needs, and recruiting in areas with an excess labor force but limited job opportunities. Additional services aid in integrating mobile workers into their new environments. This effort necessitates coordination with both employment and social services in regions with weak labor markets. Additionally, employment services extend assistance to the local population.

The target demographic for these services primarily consists of households grappling with housing issues due to unemployment or unfavorable labor market conditions. Within this target group, the SRE prioritizes individuals or households lacking stable housing due to their precarious labor market positions. These individuals receive comprehensive housing and employment services from the SRE to prepare them for participation in available training and employment programs, facilitating their entry into the labor market and providing ongoing mentoring to stabilize their employment situations.

Social services constitute the third component of the SRE. In initiatives like the HomeLab project, social services are partly delivered through personalized case management by social workers and partly through collaboration with national or local institutions. Establishing partnerships with these entities and ensuring that clients receive entitled social benefits are critical tasks for the SRE.

This being said, there is a need to bear in mind that each country applied its own adaptation to the model. For example, Hungary focused on homeless people in Budapest. They, in the framework of HomeLab, provided housing for 20 households, and helped them maintain it through very thorough social work and labour market training. They also implemented the model of HomeLab in Veszprém, where the tourism of the nearby towns is rising the rents for tenants. The pilot is the largest one of HomeLab, involving 75 households, and focusing on different types of vulnerable groups including tenants of the municipal apartments of Veszprém, tenants accumulating arrears, homeless people, people moving into Veszprem in search of job opportunities and finally leaving detention facilites, people having lost the ownership of their apartments as a result of the financial and economic crisis… As for Slovakia, they have selected three microregions with Roma localities (the vast majority being settlements), where the living conditions and basic indicators are similar: most people live in low-standard illegal houses, the unemployment rate is 70% or higher, the acquired level of education is very low and for most of the families the main source of income are state social benefits. Czech Republic approach is based on the concept of help to move the households living in unfavourable housing (legal/illegal hostels, shelters, poor quality housing etc.) to standard housing for affordable price and to help them manage their financial situation by getting employment or other type of legal job. They act on 45 households in total.
The pilots are great examples of how we can handle complex communities with interrelated needs and tackle them with simple housing schemes and constant support, pursuing the empowerment of citizens.

Loans to co-finance affordable housing – Council of Europe Development Bank

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Loans to co-finance affordable housing – Council of Europe Development Bank

Mismatches
Financing
Urban Design

Main objectives of the project

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is a multilateral development bank founded in 1956 by eight member states of the Council of Europe. It has expanded to include 42 countries as shareholders. CEB's mission is to support socially oriented investment projects that promote inclusive growth, support vulnerable groups, and prioritize environmental sustainability. The bank raises funds through borrowing on international capital markets and has a strong credit rating. It co-finances affordable housing projects, including through partnerships with national and international organizations. For example, it is part of an alliance in France to simplify access to funds and expand investments in social housing. CEB has also supported housing projects in the Republic of Moldova.

Date

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: Council of Europe Development Bank

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region:

Description

The Council of Europe Development Bank is a multilateral development bank with an exclusively social mandate. It was founded in 1956 by eight member States of the Council of Europe to provide support for refugees and displaced persons in Europe. The Bank has since expanded to include 42 countries which are its shareholders and are eligible to borrow from it.

The mission of CEB has also expanded to encompass supporting the implementation of socially oriented investment projects which promote:

Inclusive growth: working to guarantee access to economic opportunities, ensuring a prosperous future for all
Support for vulnerable groups: helping to integrate the most vulnerable citizens and nurture a more diverse society
Environmental sustainability: supporting a liveable society that promotes environmental sustainability and mitigates or adapts to climate change.
CEB is not funded by its member States, rather its funding is raised by borrowing on international capital markets. The bank’s credit rating is strong and stable at “AA+”, reflecting access to less expensive financing on capital markets.[1] It lends to member States, co-financing eligible social projects. Housing is an important part of the bond issuance programme of CEB. The proceeds of its Social Inclusion Bond, issued since April 2017, are used to finance social housing, education and vocational training, as well as job creation and preservation, in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. To date, 33 per cent of all proceeds, or EUR 495 million, have been allocated to housing projects. This has led to more than 10,600 housing units being built or renovated out of Social Inclusion Bond proceeds alone.[2]

CEB co-finances affordable housing and regularly partners with national and international organizations who contribute any remaining finance required. For instance, it is a partner in an alliance between public investment banks and social housing providers in France (Alliance européenne pour un logement sociale durable et inclusif), which was formed in 2020 to simplify access to funds, coordinate strategic investment and expand the volume of investments in social housing. This new partnership involves the French Banque des Territoires, CEB, the European Investment Bank, and not-for-profit housing providers. They combine their expertise to access European funding and make long-term investments in public social infrastructure. Additional loans will accelerate social housing construction in economically challenged areas, providing more investment to house people in precarious situations, often including support and health services[3].

Another example of recent CEB-supported activities comes from the Republic of Moldova.[4] CEB financing is being used to improve and increase the housing stock, with beneficiaries including young families; individuals or families in which at least one of its members works in a budgetary institution or works in the field of public services; families with at least three minor children; or persons with severe disabilities. Phase 1 (2008-2011) of the project comprised of the construction of 240 apartment units in four buildings. Phase II (2013-2021), which has an approved budget of EUR 13.4 million, is nearly completed. The total cost of the project is EUR 20.4 million, of which the CEB participation is 65 per cent of the total cost. CEB provides a loan for up to 20 years, including a grace period of 5 years. The contribution of the Republic of Moldova, realized through local authorities, is 35 per cent and consists of in-kind and financial contribution. The project will complete the construction of 667 social housing facilities in total.

Authors:

Cooperation through the “Urban Agenda for the EU” Housing Partnership Action Plan

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Cooperation through the “Urban Agenda for the EU” Housing Partnership Action Plan

Mismatches
Policies and regulations
Financing
Urban Design
Promotion and production
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

Date

  • 2018:

Stakeholders

  • Promotor: City of Vienna
  • Promotor: City of Lisbon
  • Promotor: City of Riga
  • Promotor: Scottish Cities Alliance
  • Promotor: City of Poznan
  • Promotor: Government of Slovakia
  • Promotor: EUROCITIES
  • Promotor: Government of Latvia
  • Promotor: Government of Luxembourg
  • Promotor: Government of the Netherlands
  • Promotor: Government of Slovenia
  • Promotor: European Commission (DG REGIO and contributions from DG NEAR and DG EMPL)
  • Promotor: International Union of Tenants
  • Promotor: European Investment Bank
  • Promotor: Faculty for Urban Studies, Science Po – Paris Institute of Political Sciences
  • Promotor: Housing Europe

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region:

Description

The Housing Partnership of the Urban Agenda for the EU used an evidence-based and consultative process, enhancing knowledge and promoting action to improve legal and financial conditions for EU cities to invest in new or renovated affordable housing.

The Partnership involved representatives of EU Member States, cities, housing providers and tenants, as well as EU institutions and programmes. The partners prepared papers on ten selected themes and consulted extensively with the public, as well as with the European Commission and Parliament.

The EU Housing Partnership Action Plan proposed several key actions. These included improving support and policy guidance to develop European affordable housing, EU-level dialogue on housing matters, reformed funding structures or state aid rules, and improved housing issue monitoring through the European Semester process.

Authors: