Affordability presentations


A blueprint for addressing the global affordable housing challenge

by Dr. Jan Mischke
McKinsey Global Institute



judithAfforable Housing and the EU Housing Agenda

by Judit Törökné Rózsa
DG REGIO Head of Unit for the Competence Centre for Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development


3rd Europe Housing Forum Closes | Call for Integrated EU Policy Approach

hf_1On November 18 – 20, more than 120 attendees gathered in Berlin for the 3rd Europe Housing Forum. The three days of presentations and discussions by some of the leading thinkers in the areas of affordability, sustainability and livability resulted in forming of concrete recommendations as a step towards developing Europe’s housing agenda.

Leilani Fahra, UN Special Rapporteur, Adequate Housing, opened the forum reminding everyone that housing is a basic human right.  She also stated migration and refugees will not ‘go away’ and more needs to be done to respond to their needs.

Greg Foster, EMEA Vice President, Habitat for Humanity International, stated, “The forum highlights the critical needs in Europe’s housing market.  More needs to be done and participants came up with very workable recommendations.”

Participants developed a set of recommendations that included calls for the EU and nation states across the region to:

  • Increase housing stocks so people have affordable, safe, and decent places to live.
  • Develop new financing initiatives and housing models that will make housing across all income levels more available.
  • Increase and expand sustainability initiatives beyond energy efficiency to include a more inclusive approach to urban planning to reduce segregation and social exclusion.
  • Develop new policies that improve livability through an integrated provision of transport, employment, social care, hospitals, schools and safety to create a more cohesive community.

EU MEP Jan Olbrycht, President URBAN Intergroup, gave the closing keynote address accepting the recommendations and telling participants that a new housing committee will work for three years to develop a more fully integrated approach to the needs of the region.  He said more details on the committee, which will start work in January 2016, will be available shortly.

The meeting was organized by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, UN-Habitat, UNECE, UNDP and Habitat for Humanity International.

Presentations and more information about the forum and its results will be posted on

For further information about the 3rd Europe Housing Forum, please contact Katerina Bezgachina

Damning report exposes Europe’s escalating housing crisis

3500Europe is experiencing a “silent emergency” for housing, with the number of young adults living with their parents now at an all-time high, according to a study.

Research conducted by Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit NGO dedicated to promoting affordable housing around the world, found that the 2008 housing crisis triggered by the global financial crash is by no means over in Europe.

Experts warn that continuing problems, such as exploding costs and the numbers of young adults forced to live at home, are likely to have a major economic and social impact across the region.

According to the report, released on Thursday:

  • More than 10% of Europeans shoulder housing costs – including rent and heating – in excess of half their household’s income. In central and eastern Europe, households spend between 30 and 50% of their income solely on winter heating, and rising household costs are contributing to poverty levels and raising the likelihood of people losing their homes.
  • The numbers of young adults aged between 18 and 34 who are living with their parents is now at an all-time high. The situation is worst in Slovenia, where 74% still live at home, in Italy it’s 66% and in Portugal it’s 55%.
  • Construction of new homes has plummeted by between 70 and 90% in recent years, and the amount of social housing does not even cover 10% of people’s needs.

The study’s authors also stress the rise of a ‘housing poverty’ reality, which has been created by the growing gap between poverty and affluence in economically vibrant urban centres, and that forces skilled and highly trained professionals to move outside of cities because they they have been priced out of them.

Read more in the article on the Guardian.

Energy efficiency in residential buildings

Habitat for HumanityIn 2015, the Bulgarian government adopted changes to the energy efficiency program for which Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria had been advocating since 2012. Back then, the government launched a national program to make multi-apartment buildings in 36 cities more energy efficient. Habitat Bulgaria suggested three modifications to make the process more accessible and effective:

  1. Decentralize the program – delegate authority from the national government to municipalities.
  2. Decentralize financial mechanisms of the program.
  3. Ensure that maintenance services are kept after the renovation to preserve changes.

The program was adapted after many proposals, meetings, press conferences and letters to various government officials filed by Habitat Bulgaria and members of the national housing coalition, Decent Home.

Number of people potentially affected by the system change
As of June 2015, more than 1,300 buildings signed up for the renovation program. This means that it can affect around 46,872 homes or more than 107,000 people.

Money allocated
The money for the program is allocated to the municipalities. For this calendar year the budget is € 500 million. It is co-financed by the EU (75%) and by the national government (25%).


In the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan

In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, which has spread devastation across the Philippines, the first essential step is to provide people with emergency shelter and clean up kits.

The super typhoon Haiyan that swept through the Philippines, locally known as Yolanda, is one of the most powerful storms that the world has ever seen. It is feared it has destroyed more than 70 percent of everything in its path, including 40,000 homes damaged and over 20,000 completely destroyed.

It will take weeks and months to estimate the final number of victims and the real damage caused to the country. However, at this moment in time, we know that thousands of people are without access to food, water or medicine.

First aid kits, medicine and food are starting to arrive and will be distributed to the affected provinces. However, it is equally important to think about shelter. Recovery after humanitarian disasters is a multi-dimensional process and consists of various components. One of the approaches that we, as an organization believe in, is cooperation and support on the ground very early on.

This has been our approach in the recovery after the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, after hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

We believe that one of the first essential steps is to provide people with emergency shelter and clean up kits.

These kits have important tools which can be used to start fixing damaged homes – buckets, shovels, torches, hammers and so on. They also contain blankets and other plastic materials that can be used to temporarily protect damaged homes from the hard elements.

However, the devastation in the Philippines has meant that some houses, that were made up of light materials, were washed completely away and thousands of people are now left without a roof above their heads.

These victims need tents and temporary protection. In those situations, our approach has been to provide designs of temporary shelter that can step-by-step be transferred into permanent houses. These solutions, if implemented from the very beginning can considerably help in the recovery.

The typhoon also shattered other buildings, like offices and schools, which has seriously damaged sanitation facilities.

Thus, the cleaning and de-clogging of blocked drainages are desperately needed to restore access to sanitation and prevent the spread of diseases. Clean up kits too can be instrumental in this work as well.

By Mihai Grigorean
Disaster Response Coordinator
Habitat for Humanity, Europe, Middle East and Africa

This opinion article first appeared in the Information Daily.