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Europeans can hardly afford to live in Europe

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fdHabitat for Humanity launches Housing Review 2015 

The housing crisis sparked by the 2008 global financial meltdown is far from over in Europe. An in-depth look at the region in Habitat for Humanity’s biannual Housing Review show this ‘silent emergency’ is getting worse and at a faster rate.

Some of the key takeaways from the report include:

  • More than 10% of Europeans have housing costs that exceed half of their household’s income. In Central and Eastern Europe, it’s even worse with some households spend 30- 50% of income on winter heating bills.
  • The percentage of young adults aged 18-34 living with parents is at record highs, reaching 55% in Portugal to 74% in Slovenia, creating “generation rent”.
  • New housing construction has dropped across the region by 70-90% with social housing running well below 10% of the current needs.  This has forced citizens to live in inadequate housing or emigrate to find a decent home.
  • There is an increasing gap between poverty and affluence in dynamic urban centers creating the “new housing poverty” phenomenon where skilled and highly trained professionals move to commuter zones because they can no longer afford living in cities.

What is clear is that Europe needs to find ways to develop and provide housing for its citizens regardless of income. The report recommends increased investment in housing to make it more affordable, sustainable and, ultimately, more livable.  Solutions range from new funding and lending options; better and more extensive use of modern building technologies and materials to reduce energy costs and environmental impact; and housing policies that promote social integration and neighborhood regeneration.

With the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees from conflicts in the Middle East and Africa over the past 18 months, the housing problems in Europe will only get worse.  The report highlights the lack of access to decent housing, a basic human right, could have severe economic and social implications in the years to come.

For detailed information, Housing Review 2015 is now available online.

Housing review Europe and Central Asia 2015

Habitat for HumanityHabitat for Humanity is updating its Housing Review 2013 on Europe and Central Asia. The updated report will be launched at the 3rd Europe Housing Forum in Berlin on 18-20 November, 2015.

The Housing Review analyses the current state of housing in 15 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia which are struggling due to chronic underinvestment after reforms and housing privatization in the 1990’s.

The report’s goal is to help develop a set of practical recommendations on ways of addressing the housing situation across the region. Aimed at policy makers, regional, national and local government officials in the housing development area, the private sector, academics and NGOs, the report focuses on three themes—affordability, sustainability and livability—and how each affects Europe’s citizens. Affordability will address how to get people into homes; sustainability, keeping them in their homes in terms of improving energy efficiency; and livability; developing the communities of the future.

Housing review Europe and Central Asia 2013

Habitat’s review and analysis of housing provisions in 23 countries of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia

It has become obvious that a legacy of chronic underinvestment in housing has resulted in a severely inadequate housing stock in many of the countries in Europe and Central Asia. At the heart of the huge social problems facing the region lies a ticking time bomb of inadequate shelter.

This report puts emphasis on understanding systemic housing issues rather than a detailed analysis of poverty housing conditions and causes in each country.

2012 Hungarian Housing Poverty report

In June, Habitat for Humanity Hungary released its annual report on the situation of housing poverty in Hungary. This is the second study on the topic, the first one was launched in June last year. The 2012 report aims to assess housing problems and trends based on available data and analyze policy developments over the past year, from the time of the first report.

The situation with housing poverty in the country has not improved since the 2011 report. Negative trends continue as more people live in poverty and the number of people in insecure and inadequate homes is on the rise, too. National socio-economic and policy measures continue to lag behind. Typically, these measures fail to serve the most disadvantaged parts society and provide only limited responses to problems that affect many people.

To see the full report and info graphics of the housing data download the PDF document.

Elevating housing in the post-2015 dialogue

In 2000, more than 150 heads of state signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration. This unprecedented document provided a common vision for poverty reduction and set the stage for the creation of the Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs. For the first time, a framework existed with specific and measurable indicators to guide development globally.

The MDGs were given a 15-year timeline, creating a sense of urgency and meaning. With less than three years until the MDGs expire, the there is movement toward creating a “post-2015” development agenda.

Because of the importance of and dire need for adequate housing around the world, it is critical that the post-2015 development agenda elevates housing as a key issue.

Habitat for Humanity has prepared a position paper advocating for the inclusion of housing indicators in the new MDS. Habitat’s scope and reach on the issue of adequate housing means the organization is well-positioned to participate in the creation of the post-2015 development agenda. The organization operates in nearly 80 countries and is one of the largest facilitators of housing solutions for those in need.

While the paper’s scope is limited to housing, Habitat recognizes the critical role other issues play and supports a comprehensive global development agenda.

To see the full text of the paper, please check the PDF file.