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Europe’s public, cooperative and social housing providers came together with decision makers of the UNECE region and the Slovak Presidency of the EU for an international conference on 15 September in Geneva to showcase the impact of successful housing policies. Many countries in Europe are at the crossroads of reforming their housing systems under pressure of an extended housing crisis; more affordable homes are needed. How can the policy makers respond to these changing needs? What is the right policy mix?

The conference “The Housing Policies of the future: How to make them work” brought together more than 180 stakeholders, including housing providers, representatives from a wide range of housing ministry representatives from the UNECE region, local authorities, international institutions, academia and from the civil society. The keynote speaker, Peter Cachola Schmal spoke about the migration related housing challenges in Germany and refugee crisis.

Session I - Housing and Society

Good quality, affordable housing is one of main drivers of change towards a better society. Public, cooperative and social housing providers have a multifaceted and measurable impact in the wider community. Numerous best practices of dealing with challenges such as migration, homelessness and social exclusion in general can be identified across Europe. How can successful models be multiplied and adopted from the local to the national as well to the international level in times of tight public budgets? Speakers presented Housing Association economic impact measurement models in different countries.

Session II - Building, Construction and Finance

The world is changing faster than the ways we provide housing. Climate change, drought, demographics and imponderables such as emerging war zones shape a new reality both for the housing sector and for the local and national authorities. Innovation in construction is now needed more than ever to address the demanding request for better homes both at faster pace and at a lower cost. What is the right mix between ground-breaking solutions, access to finance and policies to guarantee a resilient future for housing?Speakers from Sweden, Slovakia and Albania presented low cost housing construction and innovative financing models.

Session III - Urban Development and Social Inclusion

Socio-spatial segregation is the major challenge in the modern urban environment. Inequalities generate a number of issues that are linked with exclusion from decent, affordable housing, lack of education, unemployment and even radicalization. This explosive mix has a direct effect in the communities we live in. Tackling the challenge may seem complicated but actually it only takes four steps to produce a response: mixing the housing options, offering adequate financing, empowering tenants and getting support from the EU can serve the vision of liveable communities. But is this enough? CEO of Confederation of Co-operative Housing Blase Lambert illustrates the rich mix of cooperation for housing. Council of Europe Development Bank experts present the ways the bank can support housing. Raquel Herrera from EC presents the study on prevention of homelessness and evictions.

Source: Housing Europe

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