Financing innovative housing solutions

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Financing innovative housing solutions

Summary

Creative new financing methods are needed to cope as demographic and other trends drive up Europe’s need for new housing, participants told a roundtable organised by the Housing Solutions Platform on 23 November in Brussels.

While access to affordable, safe housing is a fundamental right, it is still not within reach for residents of many European countries. In 2015 nearly 17% of the EU’s population lived in overcrowded dwellings, with nearly 25m people suffering from severe housing deprivation.

One cause is that spending on house building has decreased in relative terms in many European countries, said Cédric Van Styvendael, President of Housing Europe, the Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing. That doesn’t mean less is being spent on housing-related needs though. “In the UK, there is four times as much spending on housing benefits as on building homes,” he said. “This problem goes beyond our sector. For example, house prices increase faster than income.”

Building more affordable and better-quality housing requires financial mechanisms to be readily available to would-be tenants, private landowners and government institutions. Money and investment are key, as are models of finance that blend public, private and civil society investors. So the EU is working on a range of investment funds and mechanisms to steer more private investment into social housing. “We need to associate private solutions and public financing,” said Benjamin Angel, Director for Treasury and Financial Operations at the European Commission Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs. “We need to build more investment platforms.”

Housing also plays a role in wider social and economic issues. More building tends to boost growth. And refugees need to be housed in a way that looks after their other needs. “We need to take into account all the elements that our society needs – not just housing – in order to integrate refugees,” said Rosa Sánchez-Yebra, Vice-Governor for Social Development Strategy at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB). “Social housing is related to development, and local governments alone may not have the required capacity.”

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About

About

While access to affordable, safe housing has been deemed a fundamental right, it is still not within reach for residents of many European countries. Indeed, in 2015 nearly 17% of the EU’s population lived in overcrowded dwellings, with nearly 25m people suffering from severe housing deprivation. Building more affordable and better quality housing requires financial mechanisms to be in place and readily available to would-be tenants, private landowners and government institutions. Money and investment are key, as are models of finance that blend public, private and civil society investors. But if housing is to play its part in economic growth, then combining models of finance with alternative approaches to ownership and the wider context of urban planning is essential. Across Europe and beyond, states, cities and civil society are rising to this challenge. While there can be no one-size-fits-all solutions in providing access to affordable housing, it is important to share lessons-learned in order to identify successful practices.

This event lays the foundation for a Housing Solutions Platform that seeks to create connections, stimulate debate and trigger change to support the financing of affordable housing as one of its five areas of focus, also including supply, demand, regulation and urban planning. This first platform meeting will bring together 50-60 senior stakeholders from across housing policy areas, as well as local, national and EU-level policymakers and investors, to debate and identify innovative practices in the housing finance arena, with the aim of identifying the good, the bad and the ugly of housing finance in order to inform future-looking policies and practices in this area.

IMAGE CREDIT: Bigstock – AndreyPopov

Schedule

Schedule

Welcome coffee and registration of participants
Introductory remarks and idea-sharing
Expand Introductory remarks and idea-sharing

Introductory discussants

Rosa Sanchez-Yebra

Vice-Governor for Social Development Strategy at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

Frederik Spinnewijn

Director of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)

Cédric Van Styvendael

President of Housing Europe, the Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, and Mayor of Villeurbanne

Idea-sharing

Ken Gibb

Director of the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence

SESSION I: HOUSING, SOCIAL INCLUSION AND ECONOMIC MOBILITY
Expand SESSION I: HOUSING, SOCIAL INCLUSION AND ECONOMIC MOBILITY

Amidst growing homelessness in Europe, identifying and implementing innovative and effective policies to meet current needs presents both a financial and political challenge. However, addressing such a shortage of affordable housing has been increasingly recognized as an urgent step of action not only towards ensuring protection of this particular human right, but also towards tackling the current and future socio-economic challenges that it presents for cities and their inhabitants. Looking to examples like Finland and Barcelona’s responses to homelessness, what are the connections between housing, social inclusion and economic mobility?

  • What are the unmet housing needs and emerging challenges?
  • Can housing drive economic and social gains?
  • How do cities deal with the social challenges related to the shortage of affordable/social housing and with economic stability of the end beneficiaries?
  • What programmes have cities put into place to generate affordable housing?

Kickstarter

Marko Canovic

Director for Housing Development at the Montenegro Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism

Introductory discussants

Corinne Aubin-Vasselin

Director for Housing at Metropolitan Lyon

Monica Brezzi

Director for Technical Assessment and Monitoring at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

Javier Buron Cuadrado

Housing Manager at the Barcelona City Council

Juha Kaakinen

CEO of the Y-Foundation

Agata Krause

Policy Advisor for Housing and Homelessness at Eurocities

Stepan Ripka

Executive Chairman of the Platform for Social Housing

Branislava Zarkovic

Executive Director of the Housing Development Center for Socially Vulnerable Groups

Moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Lunch break
SESSION II: INNOVATIONS IN HOUSING FINANCE
Expand SESSION II: INNOVATIONS IN HOUSING FINANCE

Exacerbated by Europe’s debt crisis of 2009, housing initiatives in EU Member States that aim to respond to housing provision needs have faced major financial obstacles. In order to design, propose and implement practices and policies to reduce housing exclusion and support economic mobility, financial mechanisms that incorporate both public and private funding must be set in motion. Attracting such investments has been one of the key challenges as it is often hampered by a high level of financial uncertainty in this area. What innovative financing instruments and approaches are being implemented to balance housing supply and demand, tackle inefficient and costly housing markets, and improve housing systems? And who are the investors?

  • What are the public-private or private-tenant shareholder models? What are the investment gaps?
  • What is the role for the European Commission in financing innovative housing solutions? How are they financed and who pays and gets paid back? Do these models work?
  • How will the Multi-annual Financial Framework review affect housing policy and economy?

Kickstarter

Benjamin Angel

Director for Direct Taxation, Tax Coordination, Economic Analysis and Evaluation and Acting Director for Indirect Taxation and Tax Administration at the European Commission Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union

Introductory discussants

Tom Bennett

Founder of the Housing First Transition Fund

Gilles de Warren

Director for Customers and Maintenance at ADOMA

Lieve Fransen

Member of the European Long-Term Investors (ELTI) High-level Task Force on Infrastructure

Crtomir Remec

Director of the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia

Chiara Rizzica

PhD architect, Project Manager and International Partnerships coordinator at Fondazione Housing Sociale

Orna Rosenfeld

Independent Senior Housing Expert and Adviser at the European Commission

Jean-Pierre Schaefer

Chargé de Mission at the French Ministry of Territorial Cohesion Council of the Cities

Moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Spokesperson of Friends of Europe

Wrap-up of ideas and solutions and end of roundtable
Speakers

Speakers

Benjamin Angel
Benjamin Angel

Director for Direct Taxation, Tax Coordination, Economic Analysis and Evaluation and Acting Director for Indirect Taxation and Tax Administration at the European Commission Directorate-General for Taxation and Customs Union

Show more information on Benjamin Angel

Benjamin Angel has been with the European Commission for more than two decades. He served in the cabinets of several European Commissioners for Economic and Monetary Affairs (Yves-Thibault de Silguy, Pedro Solbes and Joaquin Almunia). Angel also held positions in the services in charge of economic and financial affairs and more recently, taxation. He is currently Director for Direct Taxation, Tax Coordination, Economic Analysis and Evaluation and acting Director for Indirect Taxation and Tax Administration.

Photo of Corinne Aubin-Vasselin
Corinne Aubin-Vasselin

Director for Housing at Metropolitan Lyon

Show more information on Corinne Aubin-Vasselin

Corinne Aubin-Vasselin works as a director at Metropolitan Lyon, a local authority which brings together 59 municipalities and 1.3 million inhabitants in the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in France. She previously worked for 15 years in two structures of social housing, before joining Metropolitan Lyon in 2014. In her current position, Aubin-Vasselin oversees the department of housing, which notably seeks to finance social housing and strengthen access to housing.

Photo of Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett

Founder of the Housing First Transition Fund

Show more information on Tom Bennett

Tom Bennett founded the Housing First Transition Fund through which he provides short-term secured loans to homeless charities and housing associations in Glasgow. He previously worked as Investment Director for Big Society Capital, an independent financial institution which aims to improve the lives of people by connecting social investment to charities and social enterprises. In this role, he headed up a £250m housing investment portfolio and developed housing investment strategies across the UK.

Photo of Monica Brezzi
Monica Brezzi

Director for Technical Assessment and Monitoring at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

Show more information on Monica Brezzi

Monica Brezzi oversees the technical preparation and implementation of projects at the Council of Europe Development Bank. She previously worked as Head of the OECD Territorial Analysis and Statistics Unit, where she led the work on measuring well-being in cities and regions. Prior to joining the OECD in 2008, she worked at the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, where she launched a performance-based policy to improve the quality of local public services for underserved populations.

Photo of Javier Buron Cuadrado
Javier Buron Cuadrado

Housing Manager at the Barcelona City Council

Show more information on Javier Buron Cuadrado

Javier Buron Cuadrado oversees housing policies in the city of Barcelona. Prior to this position, he worked as a consultant in public policy and the housing market, as well as in administration reform and new forms of public-private management. Buron Cuadrado also served as Undersecretary for Housing and Planning Director of the Basque Government and worked as a legal counsellor in the Basque Parliament and Spanish Congress.

Photo of Marko Canovic
Marko Canovic

Director for Housing Development at the Montenegro Ministry of Sustainable Development and Tourism

Show more information on Marko Canovic

In his current position, Marko Canovic is responsible for the implementation of the 2017-2020 Social Housing Programme in Montenegro. He previously worked as an Election Monitoring Expert for the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) as well as for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Canovic also led the Centre for Democratic Transition, a non-governmental organisation which strives to promote democracy in Montenegro.

Photo of Gilles de Warren
Gilles de Warren

Director for Customers and Maintenance at ADOMA

Show more information on Gilles de Warren

Gilles de Warren works at Adoma, a social housing operator managing 72,000 housing units for vulnerable groups, which is now the leader for accommodating and assisting asylum-seekers in France. Since 2000, he has successively worked as Territorial Director in Mulhouse, Metz and Bordeaux, and as Deputy Regional Director for Ile-de-France until his current nomination as Director for Customer and Maintenance, where he monitors the operating network of Adoma’s facilities.

Photo of Lieve Fransen
Lieve Fransen

Member of the European Long-Term Investors (ELTI) High-level Task Force on Infrastructure

Show more information on Lieve Fransen

Lieve Fransen chairs the working group on “investment needs in social infrastructure” of the High-level Task Force on Social Infrastructure. This task force chaired by former European Commission President Romano Prodi aims to publish recommendations to promote the financing of social infrastructure by the end of 2017. Fransen previously worked for the European Commission where she served as Director for Social Policies of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

Photo of Ken Gibb
Ken Gibb

Director of the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence

Show more information on Ken Gibb

Ken Gibb is professor of urban studies at the University of Glasgow School of Social and Political Sciences. He is also Director of the Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence, a multidisciplinary partnership, which aims to take a housing systems approach to produce evidence and new research in order to improve housing policy and practice across the UK. His research interests are focused on the economic, financial and policy dimensions of housing.

Photo of Juha Kaakinen
Juha Kaakinen

CEO of the Y-Foundation

Show more information on Juha Kaakinen

Juha Kaakinen has worked in public administration of the City of Helsinki, as a researcher, consultant and CEO of Social Development Ltd, a company devoted to developing social and health services for cities and municipalities and as a Program Leader of a National Program to End Long-term Homelessness. He is now Chief Executive of Y-Foundation, the biggest Finnish NGO providing housing for homeless people and social housing with a housing stock of 16700 flats. He is internationally known as an advocate of Housing First policy.

Photo of Agata Krause
Agata Krause

Policy Advisor for Housing and Homelessness at Eurocities

Show more information on Agata Krause

At Eurocities, Agata Krause seeks to facilitate knowledge exchange between cities and to support evidence-based policymaking. She is particularly interested in housing construction, housing finance and housing governance, but also in homelessness, environmental benchmarking and urban regeneration. Krause has recently run a series of workshops on housing and land management, long-term investment in affordable housing and the right to housing.

Photo of Crtomir Remec
Crtomir Remec

Director of the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia

Show more information on Crtomir Remec

Crtomir Remec leads the Housing Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, a public financial and real estate fund established to finance and implement the National Housing Programme, stimulating construction, maintenance and renovation of housing and residential buildings. He previously worked at the Steel Construction Institute and at the CBS Institute, where he gained extensive professional and management experience in the field of prefabricated and energy-efficient building.

Photo of Stepan Ripka
Stepan Ripka

Executive Chairman of the Platform for Social Housing

Show more information on Stepan Ripka

Stepan Ripka currently chairs the Platform for Social Housing, a coalition of 65 NGOs and experts, which aims to end homelessness through social housing in the Czech Republic. He is also a Research Team Leader at the University of Ostrava, where he is developing and implementing a randomised control trial of rapid re-housing of 50 homeless families in Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic. Ripka previously worked as a country expert for the European Commission and the World Bank.

Photo of Chiara Rizzica
Chiara Rizzica

PhD architect, Project Manager and International Partnerships coordinator at Fondazione Housing Sociale

Show more information on Chiara Rizzica

Chiara Rizzica is responsible for coordinating international partnership projects at Fondazione Housing Sociale, a foundation which experiments in innovative solutions for financing, managing and structuring economically-sustainable social housing initiatives. She is currently running through the scouting of new social housing projects to be realised within the Integrated System of Funds, the Italian funding platform for social and affordable housing.

Photo of Orna Rosenfeld
Orna Rosenfeld

Independent Senior Housing Expert and Adviser at the European Commission

Show more information on Orna Rosenfeld

Orna Rosenfeld is a senior housing expert teaching at the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) since 2013. An architect by training, she designed and assisted in the delivery of over 6,000 affordable homes before dedicating herself to counselling and researching the advancement of affordable and social housing policies. Among other publications, she is the author of the flagship study “Social Housing in the UNECE Region: Models, Trends and Challenges”.

Photo of Rosa Sanchez-Yebra
Rosa Sanchez-Yebra

Vice-Governor for Social Development Strategy at the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

Show more information on Rosa Sanchez-Yebra

In her current position, Rosa Sanchez-Yebra oversees the social development strategy of the Council of Europe Development Bank, a multilateral development bank, which aims to promote social cohesion and strengthen social integration in Europe. Sanchez-Yebra previously served as Secretary-General of the Treasury and Financial Policy in Spain, in which capacity she represented the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in financial fora such as the G-20 and served as Deputy Minister at the Eurogroup.

Photo of Jean-Pierre Schaefer
Jean-Pierre Schaefer

Chargé de Mission at the French Ministry of Territorial Cohesion Council of the Cities

Show more information on Jean-Pierre Schaefer

Jean-Pierre Schaefer is an expert on housing economics and housing markets at the French Council of the Cities, which aims to advise the government on urban social development in France. He was previously in charge of economic studies at the Caisse des Dépôts and member of the board of directors of several housing companies. Among other publications, he is the author of the article “Latest trends in social housing finance policies in France” published in Housing Finance International.

Photo of Frederik Spinnewijn
Frederik Spinnewijn

Director of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA)

Show more information on Frederik Spinnewijn

Frederik Spinnewijn is director of FEANTSA, a European umbrella of NGOs working with homeless people in 30 European countries, which aims to end homelessness in Europe. Before joining FEANTSA in 2001, Spinnewijn led a European network of seniors’ organisations. He sits on the boards of several European organisations such as the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and Social Services Europe.

Photo of Cédric Van Styvendael
Cédric Van Styvendael

President of Housing Europe, the Federation for Public, Cooperative and Social Housing, and Mayor of Villeurbanne

Show more information on Cédric Van Styvendael

After a first experience in the public education sector responsible for urban policy issues, Cédric Van Styvendael joined the firm Habitat et Territoires Conseil, focusing on issues of urban management and renewal. He previously worked as Managing Director of Villeurbanne Est Habitat and as General Director of Est Métropole Habitat. In 2015, Van Styvendael joined the Board of Housing Europe, a network of 45 regional and national federations gathering 43,000 housing providers in 24 countries.

Photo of Branislava Zarkovic
Branislava Zarkovic

Executive Director of the Housing Development Center for Socially Vulnerable Groups

Show more information on Branislava Zarkovic

Branislava Zarkovic leads the Housing Development Center for Socially Vulnerable Groups, a non-profit organisation, which seeks to improve the living conditions of socially vulnerable groups in Serbia. An architect by training, Zarkovic previously worked as a consultant and researcher in the field of housing for vulnerable groups and on displaced persons and refugee issues related to housing, institutional discrimination, integration and poverty alleviation.

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