Habitat contributes to the civil society Roma reports

In June 2013, the Decade of Roma Inclusion Secretariat released the civil society monitoring reports on the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategies and Decade of Roma Inclusion National Action Plans.

In the reports, civil society coalitions supplement or present alternative information to Decade Progress Reports submitted by participating governments in the Decade of Roma Inclusion and to any reports submitted by state parties to the European Commission on implementation of their national strategies. This report is not meant to substitute for monitoring and quantitative evaluation by state authorities but to channel civil society knowledge into national and European policy processes and reflect on the quality and outcomes of government measures.

The recommendation part of the reports encourages a focus on the four areas where EU leaders signed up to common goals for Roma integration: access to education, employment, healthcare and housing. For putting together the targeted actions, it is important to allocate not only EU but national, private and third sector funds to Roma inclusion.

Habitat for Humanity contributed its expertise by verifying housing sections of the country submissions and advised on the report from Hungary.

You can read the full report here.

Housing Forum Europe & Central Asia 2013 in numbers

ECA Housing Forum in one Prezi

ECA Housing Forum in one Prezi

ECA Housing Forum 2013 was attended by 147 delegates from 71 organizations and covered number of themes, including vulnerable populations (migrants and Roma population), finance, energy efficiency, mental health, social housing, tenure, regulatory frameworks and legal issues, co-benefits of housing, as well as housing and disaster response.

Remind yourselves of ECA Housing Forum 2013 with a Prezi presentation from Anna Lena Schiller. The presentation is also available online.

We welcome UN-HABITAT as our organizing partner

UN-Habitat, For a Better Urban Future

UN-Habitat, For a Better Urban Future

The second Housing Forum Europe and Central Asia organizers are pleased to announce that UN-Habitat has joined us as an organizing partner. We welcome them.

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements. It is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all.

UN-HABITAT’s programmes are designed to help policy-makers and local communities get to grips with the human settlements and urban issues and find workable, lasting solutions.

Introducing social rental agencies

In Hungary, as in many post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the availability of public rental apartment is limited, less than 3% of the total housing stock. Experts claim the social rental stock should double to meet the current need.

The demand for public housing is increasing due to the lingering effect of the economic crisis. The number of debtors defaulting on their mortgages continues to grow. Yet, the social rental stock in Hungary is not only diminishing but also facing problems like poor quality, segregated settings and management shortages. At the same time, local governments, mandated to operate most of the public housing, show little interest in making such tenements sustainable.

Economic crisis increased the demand for public housing

Economic crisis increased the demand for public housing

What is a social rental agency?

Social Rental Agencies (SRAs) can become an instrument for developing a vibrant and effective social rental sector in Hungary. These agencies perform three key tasks: renting housing units from a private rental market to needy people on special terms and guarantees, taking care of the management of the dwellings and, finally, providing social work to prevent indebtedness. SRAs can operate in the framework of a newly established legal environment by local governments or by registered NGOs that are controlled by the central authorities.

Such SRAs currently operate in Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland. Over the past few years, some elements of SRAs have been at work in Hungary, including a national rent allowance program (currently closed), local rent allowance arrangements, efforts of local family care centers to negotiate affordable rents for the clients and programs to house former homeless in private flats, supplemented by social work and a complementary housing allowance.

SRAs in Hungary

Habitat for Humanity Hungary, together with the Budapest-based Metropolitan Research Institute, is trying to implement this Social Rental Agency scheme in Hungary. Local experience with social rentals and the potential introduction of SRAs was the central topic of Habitat Hungary’s 15th Anniversary conference in November 2011.

Between September 2012 and November 2013, Habitat Hungary and the Metropolitan Research Institute are conducting research and advocacy work, supported by the Open Society Institute, to help include the SRA concept into the set of official housing policy instruments. The organizations will analyze existing SRA practices and develop feasibility studies in cooperation with four municipalities.

Lea Kőszeghy
advocacy officer
Habitat for Humanity Hungary

Tackling Health Inequalities through Investing in Housing

CECODHAS Housing Europe, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the European Parliament Urban Intergroup are organizing a seminar at the European Parliament in Brussels along the theme “Tackling Health Inequalities through Investing in Housing: Quality housing for population health and equity: EU cross-sector collaboration amidst health and social crises“. The event will take place on January 22, 2013. CECODHAS is a supporting partner of the Housing Forum Europe & Central Asia.

The purpose of this seminar will be to bring issues of housing, poverty, inequalities, health and wellbeing in line, and to qualify the extent of the problem by bringing in speakers from EU and international institutions, as well as acclaimed academics. The meeting will aim at informing cross-sectorial civil society actors on potential of more comprehensive advocacy on health-housing links and showing the potential of benefits between social housing organisations and public health organisations.

For far too long, housing and health have remained in fundamentally separate policy silos. The introduction of a ‘health in all policies’ approach has started to increase the impetus towards searching for win-win situations, for synergies between health and other areas – notably housing. Housing conditions affect people’s health. If these conditions are of poor quality, inadequate or unaffordable; or even simply speaking – unavailable per definition of being homeless, people’s health gets compromised and damaged beyond repair on a longer run.

The event will be of particular interest and importance for the representatives of civil society organisations dealing directly and indirectly with health and housing issues, wishing to learn on health-housing links, analyse on recent developments at EU policy level on health and housing, explore on potentials for increased advocacy and use of EU funds on a health-housing link, and build up and/or expand their cross-sectoral network for future partnerships and collaboration.

Draft agenda and registration on this page

CECODHAS are a network of national and regional housing federations of housing organisations. Together the 43 members in 18 European members States manage 25 million dwellings which represent 12% of the total housing stock.

Its members work together for a Europe that provides access to decent and affordable housing for all in communities which are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable and where all are enabled to reach their full potential.