Affordable and Supportive Housing for the Elderly, Liverpool

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Affordable and Supportive Housing for the Elderly, Liverpool

Mismatches Vulnerable groups Demographic/Urban growth
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance Public-private initiatives

Main objectives of the project

Liverpool's innovative housing strategy for the elderly underscores the vital importance of tailored housing solutions in promoting independence and well-being. By transitioning from traditional institutional care to community-oriented extra care housing, the city helps older adults maintain their social networks and quality of life. ACCESS Liverpool exemplifies the strategy's effectiveness, providing a streamlined, one-stop service for housing and care needs. This approach ensures that housing is not only affordable but also suitable for the residents, addressing their specific necessities and ensuring they live in secure, supportive environments that enhance their overall well-being.

Date

  • 2000: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • City of Liverpool
  • Liverpool Housing Action Trust
  • ACCESS Liverpool

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Liverpool
Country/Region: Liverpool, United Kingdom

Description

Affordable housing is not a one-fits-all solution. Each person might have their own needs and vulnerabilities that must be taken into an account if we want to build housing for all. One example of this specific groups is elderly people. Housing for older people requires a unique approach that addresses their specific needs, promotes independence, and enhances quality of life. Unlike the general population, older individuals often require accommodation that is adapted to their physical and health needs, provides access to care and support services, and allows them to remain active and engaged in their communities. Recognizing these needs, the City of Liverpool has implemented a strategic approach to housing for older people, focusing on moving away from institutional models towards more empowering and community-based solutions.

Several years ago, the City of Liverpool embarked on a comprehensive strategy to enhance accommodation options for its older residents. This initiative was rooted in the efforts of the Liverpool Housing Action Trust and various Registered Social Landlords (RSLs). In collaboration with the local authority, a report was commissioned from consultants in 2001, and the recommendations from this report were adopted by Liverpool’s strategic housing partnership. This strategy has since driven the redesign of housing, care, and support services across the city, aiming to empower older individuals to improve their quality of life and remain in their preferred homes and communities. A key element of this strategy is the development of extra care housing, providing a positive alternative to traditional residential care facilities, which are not cheap, without having to live without the needed care. Additionally, the city has established active ageing services to support this demographic further. By doing so, older people can still be living on their own and maintain their own community and social network. Making housing affordable also means making housing accessible for people, considering their specific necessities. In fact, the absence of services for this population tend to leave them in housing insecurity or living in sub-optimal conditions.

Another pivotal component of Liverpool's strategy is ACCESS Liverpool, a common allocation and advice service that began in 2000. ACCESS Liverpool manages a unified assessment and waiting list system for housing providers across the city, benefiting older and disabled individuals who need specialized accommodation. The service operates on behalf of a partnership of 24 housing providers, including the city council, and collaborates with key stakeholders such as Age Concern Liverpool and the Primary Care Trust (PCT).

ACCESS Liverpool features a small, dedicated team that oversees a common waiting list for sheltered accommodation, extra care housing, and accessible homes. This service has been well-received, as evidenced by satisfaction surveys, due to its efficiency in preventing older and disabled individuals from needing to approach multiple landlords. The strengths of ACCESS Liverpool include conducting home visits, encouraging discussions about individual needs and choices, and applying a single assessment methodology. In the 2006/07 period, ACCESS Liverpool successfully rehoused 366 people, including a significant portion who were homeless or facing serious issues. Currently, the waiting list includes 600 individuals seeking sheltered housing and another 600 looking for specially adapted dwellings. Thus, ACCESS works as a one-stop-shop for elderly and disable people that has become a great governance structure among social services and housing services providers.

Liverpool's approach demonstrates a comprehensive and collaborative effort to enhance housing options for older people, ensuring they receive the support and accommodations necessary to live independently and comfortably within their communities.

Open Door Affordable Housing Program, Toronto

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Open Door Affordable Housing Program, Toronto

Mismatches Price Diversity Vulnerable groups Demographic/Urban growth
Policies and regulations Local policies Land Planning Governance
Financing Public funding Supply subsidies Demand subsidies

Main objectives of the project

Toronto is facing a growing housing crisis. For this reason, Open Door was set up. Launched in 2016, Open Door accelerates the construction of affordable housing by providing City financial contributions, including capital funding fees and property tax relief, fast-tracking planning approvals, and activating surplus public land.

Date

  • 2016: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Toronto City Council

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: Canada, Toronto

Description

Toronto, as many of the biggest North American cities, face a housing crisis. The reason behind it are multiple, but, for sure, one of the reasons is the insufficient stock of social and affordable housing, For this reason, the Toronto City Council approved the Open Door Affordable Housing Program in 2016 to accelerate the construction of affordable homes by providing financial contributions, including capital funding, as well as fees and property tax relief. The program expedited planning approvals and utilized surplus public land, including properties owned by CreateTO, the Toronto Transit Commission, the Toronto Parking Authority, and Toronto Community Housing. The initiative aimed to deliver 5,000 new affordable rental homes and 2,000 new affordable ownership homes between 2016 and 2020.

In December 2018, Toronto City Council launched Housing Now to further enhance the supply of affordable housing. This program intends to create a mix of affordable rental, market rental, and ownership housing options for households earning between C$21,000 (€14,500) and C$52,000 (€35,800) annually. So far, 11 sites have been identified with the potential to bring forward 10,000 homes, of which 3,700 will be affordable rental units. The city council approved a C$20 (€11.51) million fund to prepare the 11 sites for marketing. This preparation includes adding temporary staff, conducting necessary environmental studies and remediation, market analyses, and planning studies.

The following principles were adopted by Toronto City Council to guide the development of new housing:

1. Develop the sites to achieve the highest possible public benefits.
2. Optimize the development of market and affordable rental housing with a mix of unit types and sizes, ensuring at least 20 percent of all units meet or exceed disabled accessibility standards.
3. Create homes affordable for a diverse range of incomes, including 'deeply affordable' homes. So, average rents across all intermediate units on each site will not exceed 80 percent of the average market rent for the city of Toronto and a minimum of 10 percent of all units will be 'deeply affordable,' rented at 40 percent of average market rent.
4. Appropriately address and accommodate existing city uses and other operations on the 11 sites. Thus, retain public ownership of the properties, prioritizing long-term land leases and engage city councillors and local communities in the planning and development of each property.

This case exemplifies who a big city can push for building rapidly its affordable housing goals, maintaining an idea on inclusion and diversity in its developments.

Organisme de Foncier Solidaire de la Métropole Lilloise (OFSML)

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Organisme de Foncier Solidaire de la Métropole Lilloise (OFSML)

Mismatches Price Financing
Policies and regulations Local policies Regulation
Promotion and production Public promotion Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

The Organisme de Foncier Solidaire (OFS) focuses on ensuring long-term housing affordability through an innovative lease model that separates land and property ownership. Established in Lille and approved by the State, the OFS acquires land and partners with developers to build affordable housing units. This model prevents land speculation, keeps housing costs low, and guarantees that homes remain affordable for future generations, thereby addressing housing needs for households with limited financial resources.

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • OFSML

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: France, Lille

Description

The City of Lille, with a population of 228,000, is the 10th largest city in France, comprising 138,000 housing units. Seventy percent of its residents are tenants, reflecting a tight housing market with a 25% turnover, a 5% real vacancy rate, and over 16,500 requests for social housing. Lille ranks as the 4th most expensive provincial city in the existing market (€3,130/m²) and the 3rd most expensive in the rental market (€13.9/m² in 2017). Despite this, Lille's median income is 17% lower than the national median. Housing prices in Lille tripled between 2000 and 2011. To address these challenges, the City of Lille set a goal of 10,000 new housing units from 2014 to 2020, with a focus on equal distribution of social and affordable housing. Various tools support this initiative, such as the Reserved Site for Housing (Emplacement Réservé pour le Logement – ERL), land action, and social diversity obligations (servitude de mixité sociale). Despite anti-speculation clauses, affordable housing is not permanently socially-oriented, as original buyers can sell back to the free market. Consequently, Lille has been exploring new models for securing permanently affordable homeownership.

The "Organisme de Foncier Solidaire" (OFS) is a non-profit organization, approved by the State on July 20, 2017, designed to tackle these housing issues. Lille's OFS, the first in France, operates on a metropolitan scale, acquiring and managing land to support the construction of housing for households struggling to find decent housing. This model neutralizes land costs over time, reducing housing costs and increasing affordability. The OFS grants a lease known as “Bail Réel Solidaire” (BRS), which only OFS can use. While the OFS does not directly build housing, developers do so under BRS conditions: resource thresholds, sale price limits, principal residence requirements, and appropriate housing size for household size. The BRS is valid for 19 to 99 years and can be renewed upon ownership changes.

The OFSML is the first OFS approved by the State, aiming to introduce a new ownership approach that treats land as a common good, ensuring permanent affordability and better use of public funds. The model also secures households with the BRS lease. Projects under the OFSML, like the Cosmopole project (developer: Finapar), follow the Community Land Trust (CLT) model, separating land ownership from building ownership. The process for the Cosmopole project includes several steps:

1. The City of Lille owns the land.
2. An agreement between the OFSML and the City of Lille is made to develop OFS/BRS housing.
3. The City of Lille issues a call for tenders and sells the land to the selected developer.
4. The developer sells the land to the OFSML for €1 (equivalent to 15 OFS housing units) and signs an initial BRS with the OFSML, paying a monthly fee of €1/m².
5. The developer constructs and sells OFS/BRS housing while adhering to criteria set by the OFSML. Buyers must be approved by the OFSML.
6. Approved buyers sign a VEFA-type reservation with the developer and a User BRS with the OFSML.
7. The household becomes the building owner and land tenant (paying a monthly fee of €1/m²).
8. If the owner sells the housing, the selling price is regulated, and the new buyer must meet the same conditions: resource thresholds, principal residence, and appropriate housing size. 9. The BRS is then renewed for another 99 years.

The first OFS housing project in Lille enabled middle-class households to access housing in city centers and neighborhoods typically inhabited by affluent residents. The OFSML successfully reached its target audience through press articles and the municipal paper explaining the OFSML model. Additionally, the OFSML launched a website to expand its reach further.

The housing offered by the OFSML is very affordable, priced at €2,110 per square meter (including VAT) without parking. These prices align with the local definition of social homeownership, aimed at people with modest resources. In the first project, half of the buyers transitioned from social rental housing. The project's prime location near various urban services enhances its attractiveness and keeps the land affordable over time, combating land speculation.

Despite these successes, the OFSML faces challenges such as uncertainty regarding bank mobilization. It is exploring different legal systems to better align with its model and activities while seeking metropolitan-level opportunities.

The OFS model has garnered significant interest in France. In November 2018, the City of Lille hosted a two-day event for French OFS organizations and established the French OFS network "Foncier Solidaire France," supported by the French government. This network aims to facilitate member exchanges, address challenges, gather proposals, and forward recommendations at the national level.

RENOLUTION and IRISbox online one-stop-shop solutions to vacant buildings, Brussels-Capital Region

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RENOLUTION and IRISbox online one-stop-shop solutions to vacant buildings, Brussels-Capital Region

Mismatches Functional adequacy Vacant housing
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance

Main objectives of the project

In Brussels, leaving a residential property vacant for over 12 months is illegal, with hefty fines enforced by dedicated units. To encourage property utilization, measures like involving Social Rental Agencies and providing renovation grants have been introduced. However, accessing support was challenging due to numerous programs. To simplify, all schemes were consolidated under RENOLUTION, linked to IRISbox, easing identification and application processes. These efforts reduce complexity and administrative burdens, motivating owners to refurbish and occupy their vacant properties.

Date

Stakeholders

  • Brussels-Capital Region

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Belgium, Brussels

Description

In the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium, leaving a residential property vacant for over 12 months is against the law and can lead to significant fines. Dedicated units within the Region focus on identifying and prosecuting owners of such properties. However, this process can be time-consuming and costly. To address this, alternative measures have been introduced to encourage property owners to utilize their vacant properties. One option is to entrust the management of the property to a Social Rental Agency (SRA), providing housing for low-income households. Another approach is to offer special home renovation grants, especially beneficial for properties that don't meet decent standards.

Over time, the number of available grants and public supports for renovation and maintenance has increased, resulting in difficulty for property owners, including public housing providers, in identifying and accessing assistance opportunities. To streamline this process, two significant actions were taken. Firstly, all available schemes were consolidated under one umbrella called RENOLUTION. This centralized platform offers a clear, searchable catalog of support schemes along with administrative support services. Secondly, RENOLUTION was linked to IRISbox, the Brussels Region's online platform for public assistance programs. Through IRISbox, users can easily identify available schemes and swiftly submit applications for support.

These initiatives have significantly reduced the complexity and administrative burden associated with accessing public supports for renovation and building improvement activities. For owners of vacant properties, this streamlined approach could make a substantial difference in facilitating the necessary improvements to bring their properties back into use.

Right of Public Administration for vacant dwellings, Brussels-Capital Region

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Right of Public Administration for vacant dwellings, Brussels-Capital Region

Mismatches Vulnerable groups Vacant housing
Policies and regulations Local policies Regulation Global frameworks
Ownership and tenure

Main objectives of the project

Since 2003, Brussels have the "Right of Public Administration". This allows municipal authorities to manage and renovate vacant private properties, renting them out at reduced rates. Reforms in 2022 aimed to enhance this system, requiring owners to reimburse costs and ensure affordable rent for low-income households.

Date

  • 2003: Implementation
  • 2022: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Brussels-Capital Region

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Belgium, Brussels

Description

Brussels is taking the problem of vacant housing seriously. In Brussels, leaving a residential property vacant for over 12 months is illegal, with hefty fines enforced by dedicated units. They also do have incentives for refurbishment by the private, such as RENOLUTION. Yet, since 2003, legislation in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium has granted the "Right of Public Administration" (Le droit de gestion publique) for vacant dwellings. This grants municipal authorities the authority to temporarily assume management of unoccupied or dilapidated housing, facilitating renovation if necessary, and subsequently renting it out at a reduced below-market rate for a nine-year period. All associated costs are covered through the rent collected. This right can be exercised voluntarily with the property owner's agreement or forcibly if the owner fails to take steps to restore the property.

In 2022, the Regional Parliament undertook reforms to the Right of Public Administration system. The aim was to rejuvenate the program, clarify certain aspects, and bolster others. Changes include stipulations that the property owner can reclaim the property from the municipality or the current managing entity only after fully reimbursing all incurred costs associated with bringing the property back into use and its subsequent management. Moreover, owners must commit to charging rent in line with the sub-market rates set by the municipality and make the property available exclusively to eligible low-income households. Regardless of the managing entity, the below-market rent is fixed for nine years following the initiation of the Right of Public Administration.

Nevertheless, the utilization of the Right has been infrequent by public authorities in the Region, at least until recently. This is partly due to the lengthy requisition process, as owners typically rehabilitate the property before reaching the stage where municipal control would be enacted. Thus, it could be inferred that the perceived credible threat of action is adequate in achieving the desired outcome of reducing the quantity of vacant homes.

Terner labs

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Terner labs

Mismatches
Policies and regulations Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact
Urban Design

Main objectives of the project

Terner Labs, affiliated with UC Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation, utilize data, transparent methodologies, and innovative approaches. Their aim is to support policymakers in devising more effective solutions to California's housing crisis.

Date

  • 2019: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Terner Center

Location

Continent: North America
Country/Region: San Jose, United States of America

Description

In response to California's significant housing crisis, UC Berkeley established the Terner Labs as part of the Terner Center, aiming to tackle the issue head-on. The mission of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation is to develop innovative strategies to provide affordable housing for families from diverse backgrounds in sustainable and vibrant communities. Founded in 2015, the Terner Center has swiftly emerged as a leading advocate for identifying and advancing solutions to the nation's most challenging housing issues.

The Terner Labs, the main innovative arm of the center, comprises three distinct labs. The oldest among them is the Housing Venture Lab, established in 2019. This lab serves as an accelerator, offering comprehensive support to entrepreneurs with fresh and bold ideas aimed at enhancing the accessibility, equity, and sustainability of housing. Through the lab, entrepreneurs gain access to a network of leading figures in construction, policymaking, nonprofits, and entrepreneurship on a national scale. Moreover, they receive guidance from experienced professionals and strategic partners to chart a course for substantial impact. Then, they can test the ideas and analyze how they work.

The Data Solutions Lab focuses on developing data-driven tools for housing and land use modeling, enabling policymakers, researchers, and advocates to make well-informed decisions regarding community housing. A notable tool developed by this lab is the housing supply simulator. This simulator assesses the potential impact of policy changes, such as adjusting height limits or unit numbers, on the types of housing developed at different scales. Furthermore, it evaluates the financial viability and likelihood of development across various building types, zoning categories, and neighborhoods. Additionally, it predicts how policy alterations could affect housing production in proximity to transit, in areas susceptible to displacement, or in regions prone to wildfires, among other considerations.

Lastly, the Builders Lab, set to launch in 2024, will collaborate with emerging leaders in architecture, engineering, and construction to implement and scale innovative methods that streamline housing delivery nationwide. The lab aims to cultivate a cohort of ventures that pioneer advancements in construction techniques to facilitate the provision of affordable housing.

Collectively, these three labs exemplify how leveraging data, engaging stakeholders, and harnessing technology can pave the way for more effective housing policies.

The City of Helsinki’s Housing Advice Service

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The City of Helsinki’s Housing Advice Service

Mismatches Segregation Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Local policies Governance Evictions
Financing

Main objectives of the project

The inception of Helsinki's Housing Advice Service in 2006 marked a proactive response to rising evictions, emphasizing prevention and collaborative efforts between social services and property companies. By addressing diverse challenges like rent arrears and mental health issues, the service aligns with national housing policies and underscores the importance of public support in preventing homelessness. With estimated savings of up to €20,000 per prevented eviction, the service demonstrates its cost-effectiveness and potential for adaptation in other countries.

Date

  • 2006: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Helsinki City Hall
  • Heka

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Helsinki
Country/Region: Finland, Helsinki

Description

In 2008, the number of evictions in Helsinki skyrocketed. This prompted social services and property companies to advocate for a collaborative approach to combat homelessness, prevent evictions, and engage in practical social work. According to property companies, pressing issues in various districts of Helsinki included rent arrears, substance abuse, mental health challenges, poor flat maintenance, and cultural conflicts among residents.

This marked the inception of the Housing Advice Service in 2006, a structured housing social work initiative by the City of Helsinki aimed at preventing homelessness. Operating on client-focused strategies and local cooperation, the service emerged in response to mounting demands from social services and property companies. National objectives for the service were introduced in 2009, aligning it with government housing policies to mitigate long-term homelessness. Currently, Helsinki is drafting a homelessness action plan with a strong emphasis on prevention.

Holding onto a home is fundamental, underscoring the importance of organizing public services to offer adequate support to individuals at risk of homelessness. Preventing evictions not only addresses homelessness but also mitigates various health and social issues. Moreover is a huge save for the public budget. Acting on the consequences is way more expensive for the taxpayer money due to associate costs on health, shelters, etc. In Helsinki, the Housing Advice Service has prioritized collaboration with the largest property company, Heka, particularly regarding rent arrears and other housing challenges. It offers a multi-channel service, including office meetings, home visits, and consultations via telephone or email.

The service has expanded to include housing advisers, currently numbering 16, alongside the addition of a psychiatric nurse and a tenant mentor program for residents with migrant backgrounds. Digital services have been developed to cater to advice and guidance needs, complemented by financial and debt counseling for residents in debt. Operated under the City of Helsinki Social Service and Health Care Division, some personnel expenses are covered by Heka and the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland (ARA).

The estimated savings resulting from the service range from €5000 to €20,000 per prevented eviction, with the service deemed self-sustainable if it prevents at least 23 evictions annually, based on the minimum saving of €5000. Despite the immediate financial gains, the broader human impact and cumulative effects of preventing evictions are also significant considerations.

The efficacy of housing advice operations is evident in reducing rent arrears, lowering eviction rates, and enhancing the city's housing-related social work capacities. Standardized cooperation processes and swift interventions have decreased homelessness risks and yielded substantial public finance savings. Between 2009 and 2018, the service recorded a total of 62,153 client contacts.

The success of the housing advice service in Helsinki suggests its potential for adaptation and implementation in other countries, contingent upon adjustments to local operational environments, public administration structures, and financing mechanisms. Collaboration with third-sector operators specializing in homelessness issues is crucial for the initiative's success, as demonstrated by Helsinki's experience in addressing systemic changes related to social structures, segregation, and public administration.

Collectief Goed, Antwerp

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Collectief Goed, Antwerp

Mismatches Price Functional adequacy Vulnerable groups
Policies and regulations Public-private initiatives Participatory processes
Promotion and production Cooperatives
Ownership and tenure Shared ownership Protection of social housing

Main objectives of the project

With a scarcity of affordable housing in Flanders, Collectief Goed stands out as a beacon of hope for families in need. By acquiring and renovating vacant homes through a cooperative approach, they've provided secure, affordable housing for 35 large families since 2015. Their emphasis on tenant participation and empowerment underscores their commitment to addressing housing inequality and fostering community ownership

Date

  • 2007: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Collectief Goed
  • De Ideale Woning

Location

Continent: Europe
Country/Region: Antwerp, Belgium

Description

In Flanders, approximately 180,000 children are trapped in poverty, facing the harsh reality of inadequate housing options. While purchasing a home is out of reach for these families, finding decent and affordable rentals in the private market is equally challenging. With only 6% of the housing market consisting of social housing, the demand far exceeds the limited supply, resulting in a staggering waiting list of 130,000 families. As a consequence, many families are forced into substandard living conditions—crowded, deteriorating homes that pose health risks, inflate utility bills, and exacerbate stress levels, leaving little capacity to tackle additional challenges.

Recognizing this dire situation, De Ideale Woning, a social housing company in Antwerp, spearheaded the creation of Collectief Goed, a cooperative aimed at enhancing the living standards of low-income individuals. In collaboration with three other organizations, Collectief Goed embarked on a mission to provide affordable housing with a strong emphasis on tenant participation and empowerment. Their strategy revolves around acquiring, renovating, and renting vacant houses tailored to accommodate large families on modest budgets.

Collectief Goed is born out of the initiative of individuals who have personally experienced the hardships of poverty. They confronted various issues, foremost among them the lack of affordable and suitable housing, and united to address these challenges collectively. Through their efforts, Collectief Goed has substantially improved housing conditions for its members, offering completely renovated homes with secure, long-term, and affordable rental contracts. This newfound stability serves as a cornerstone for addressing broader societal issues. Moreover, Collectief Goed collaborates closely with tenants, fostering their self-development and empowerment.

In the face of a severe shortage of affordable housing, many properties lie vacant. Collectief Goed seeks to remedy this by acquiring, renovating, and making these properties available to vulnerable families at affordable rates through an innovative cooperative housing model. To keep renovation costs low without compromising quality, Collectief Goed employs creative renovation techniques and engages technical schools and social economy workers in the process. Additionally, materials are procured collectively, and the project leverages various subsidies and premiums. Importantly, tenants are actively involved in every stage of the process as shareholders in the cooperative.

Financing for Collectief Goed's initiatives comes from a mix of sources. The founders initially invested startup capital, supplemented by private investors who purchase shares. Properties are acquired in exchange for shares and subordinated loans, while bank loans finance renovations. Tenant rent serves as another revenue stream. With a target of owning and renting out 75 homes to break even, Collectief Goed has made significant strides since its inception in 2015, providing quality, affordable housing to 35 large families with limited incomes. The relevant part, as we mentioned, is that these families are not just tenants; they are integral members of the cooperative, with opportunities to become shareholders and co-owners, demonstrating the efficacy of the model in preserving social housing stock and catering to underserved demographics. Importantly, residents feel deeply connected to their homes and the cooperative, reinforcing the sense of community and ownership.

Settlements Observatory, Montevideo

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Settlements Observatory, Montevideo

Policies and regulations Local policies Governance Data and monitoring Participatory processes
Promotion and production Favelas/Slums

Main objectives of the project

In 2017, Montevideo created the Settlements Observatory. The objective was to have an instrument of information and public data on the biggest challenge the city faces: achieving livable environments for its most vulnerable communities, but maintaining its idiosyncrasy.

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Montevideo municipality - divisiontierrasyhabitat@imm.gub.uy

Location

Continent: South America
Country/Region: Montevideo, Uruguay

Description

Montevideo today has more than three hundred informal settlements. They are inhabited by more than 120,000 people, most of them from vulnerable communities. This is the result of years of urban growth in a context of economic crisis and years of migration and uncontrolled urban sprawl. Thus, the city lived and lives a deep urgency. There is an urgent need to integrate these neighborhoods. But to do so, the magnitude of the problem must be known.

In the previous decade, it was unknown how many people lived in settlements (beyond census data), there was no knowledge of the status of the interventions, nor was it recorded in a unified way. For this reason, in 2017 the Settlements Observatory was created. This instrument aims to systematize the main indicators of the city's settlements. Thus, it aims to put data to the reality of the settlements, seeing their realities and differences. Moreover, it does it in a systematic and longitudinal way, being able to monitor its evolution. In this way, it becomes the evaluation and follow-up instrument for Montevideo's neighborhood improvement programs. The information related to irregular settlements includes data on interventions carried out by different agencies and institutions. This allows their categorization, as well as establishing whether or not the conditions of the definition of irregular settlement are maintained or not, in order to maintain or remove them from the database, respectively.

Each settlement collects a series of simple and mapped data in the metropolitan environment of Montevideo. Mainly, each settlement has a name, the area, the number of inhabitants, the status (intervened or not), the plan that intervenes in it and the number of dwellings. It is also possible to find out if they are in the process of regularization or not and since when or if their inhabitants have been relocated. All this makes it possible to follow up on people living in low climatic comfort, in sub-standard housing and to systematize the programs that have an impact on their environment.

One of the most important issues of the observatory was to be an instrument of transparency. Thus, in addition to influencing and improving programs, it also transfers information to interested agents, affected communities and other administrations on the work being carried out and the state of the situation. This transparency exercise is essential to encourage participation in the programs and build trust. The open data system also allows the intervention of universities, researchers and those interested in the subject, helping to delve deeper into the realities of the settlements.

In addition, the communities are also a vehicle for information. The observatory's ultimate goal is to ensure that these communities can also become empowered by the realities of their environments.

Metropolitan Housing Observatory, Barcelona (O-HB)

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Metropolitan Housing Observatory, Barcelona (O-HB)

Policies and regulations National policies Local policies Governance Data and monitoring Evaluation and impact

Main objectives of the project

The Metropolitan Housing Observatory of Barcelona (O-HB) is a supra-municipal entity dedicated to researching and analyzing housing-related data with the aim of supporting the design and evaluation of public policies in this area. It emerged in 2017 as a collaboration between the Barcelona City Council, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), the Barcelona Provincial Council and the Generalitat de Catalunya, with the support of the Association of Social Housing Managers (GHS).

Date

  • 2017: Implementation

Stakeholders

  • Barcelona City Council
  • AMB (Metropolitan Government)
  • Diputació de Barcelona
  • Generalitat de Catalunya

Location

Continent: Europe
City: Barcelona
Country/Region: Barcelona, Spain

Description

Barcelona is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis. Rents have skyrocketed and housing prices are unaffordable for the majority of the population. Despite this, housing data were fragmented among different administrations, were not transparent and unclear. For this reason, the City Council promoted a metropolitan observatory that could systematize the data to provide clear information on how to act in the face of the crisis. To this end, the Generalitat (the national government), the Diputació provincial (the region), the metropolitan government and the City Council, as well as civil society, with the Association of Social Housing Managers, came to an agreement. Together they made possible the Metropolitan Housing Observatory (O-HB).

Thus, the Observatory gives an open data system since its creation. The data is structured in six chapters: housing stock; construction and rehabilitation; socio-demographic and socio-economic aspects; housing and land market; problems of permanence, access and maintenance; and public policies. From these open data, all the administrations share their information and citizens, researchers and social agents can also have an impact on them.

In addition, the observatory carries out its own studies and annual reports on the state of housing. In fact, when a regulation of rental prices was made, the Observatory was in charge of evaluating it from different methodologies. As a democratic instrument at the service of housing, it also organizes debates and lectures with specialists on a regular basis.

In short, the Observatory acts as a scientific tool at the service of citizens, researchers and administrations. For the first time, it systematizes data on the current housing crisis, debates the main policies and evaluates the programs that affect affordable housing. An open laboratory and a critical space to guide the future of a Barcelona where its inhabitants can live.

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