As the Government quietly erases social housing from our system, the European Union seems to be getting more excited about the idea. Earlier this month the Parliament adopted a resolution proposed by the Greens calling on the Commission to set out a ‘European social housing action framework’ to pull together the various programmes that affect the issue. ‘Social housing may not be seen only as expenditure but as productive investment, too, since it creates jobs’ said the MEPs.
Rapporteur Karima Delli (Green) said that ‘investing in social housing means boosting construction and renovation sectors and the opportunity to create green jobs’. Recognising that ‘social housing plays a key part in the achievement of the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy, especially its poverty target’ the Parliament called for adequate funding to be made available in the EU financial framework and for national, regional and local authorities to do more to invest in social housing.
The Parliament also called for member states to take action to prevent evictions caused by the economic crisis.
For those with an interest, back in January the EU produced a useful briefing note on social housing in Europe, available here through the International Union of Tenants website. It showed that virtually all Member States had experienced a growing demand for social housing at the same time as there has been a narrowing of traditional sources of financing. In addition, States had seen a diversification of housing needs, with ‘housing vulnerability’ rising higher up the income distribution, the growing importance of fuel poverty and energy demand, and the different needs of an ageing population. There is useful information about the big differences in definition of social housing in different countries and some interesting examples of innovative housing schemes.