Five projects have been launched in 2019:
- CALICO – Care and Living in Community, Brussels Capital region
- E-Co-Housing – Co-creating a regenerative Housing Project together with the community, Budapest
- ICCARus Improving housing Conditions for Captive Residents, Ghent
- Home Silk Road – Housing toward empowerment , Lyon Métropole
- Yes we rent! Leveraging vacant private property to build up a cooperative affordable housing scheme, Mataró
Looking at these five projects gives an understanding of the crosscutting issues that urban authorities are dealing with regarding housing innovative projects:
No one left behind
The main objective, shared by all projects, is to provide better accessibility to affordable housing for all. Therefore, several projects address specific issues of accessibility to adequate housing by vulnerable groups that are often more exposed to difficulties regarding access to affordable housing. Depending on the local context, the households targets are different.
For example, the CALICO project aims at providing community-led support in order to address the specific housing issues of ageing people, low-income families, women and migrants whereas in the Home Silk Road project targets generally excluded groups (homeless people, migrants, single parents, students, etc.).
Improving accessibility to affordable housing for all is also about providing quality housing. The E-Co-Housing project led by Budapest’s urban authorities combines both dimensions: it provides high quality standards for social affordable housing. Indeed, building modular housing units has two major assets: it can be adapted to the households needs and it facilitates the monitoring of the building costs. Thus, this specific process provides 100 social dwellings with the highest quality standard for different types of households.
Providing affordable and quality housing requires innovativeness regarding financial strategies. The CALICO, ICCARus and Yes we rent! projects deal with the issue by developing mechanisms in order to protect housing from speculation (provision of social rent, rent regulation, short term rental regulation) but also to finance and monitor the costs of the projects (reuse of vacant building).
For instance, the CALICO project presents an innovative model for delivering social and affordable housing to vulnerable groups that also combines an alternative ownership model (the Community Land Trust approach). Innovative financing schemes are also emerging, such as the revolving fund designed by the ICCARus project as a mechanism for a fair share of added value. Ghent is indeed facing a shortage in affordable and qualitative housing as 10 000 low-income households are living in unsafe housing. The main challenge is to address a systemic issue with a fair finance mechanism, which uses public funds for housing renovations. Once the dwelling is renovated, it increases its value and in case it is being sold, part of this value goes back to the revolving fund. Thus, by using a tailor-made revolving fund, public money is not only used for a limited group, but can be used repeatedly to renovate a greater number of unsafe dwellings.
The Yes we rent! project experienced in Mataró combines finance mechanisms, participation incentives and governance by creating a social rental agency (operated in the form of a self-sustainable cooperative) that involves the empty units of private and corporate owners and let them out to households that are on the waiting list for social housing. The combination of these actions creates a framework that improves the efficiency of housing private market.
The five projects focus on inclusive approaches of collective, cooperative and municipal-led forms of housing. These community-led practices might also take the form of incentive participation processes or collaborative activities that might develop a greater sense of community. The community-led practices brought forward are locally determined and depend on the needs of the social groups targeted. The case of the CALICO project illustrates these different aspects of community led-practices as it implements at the same time a collaborative management of the dwellings and care facilities for both birth and end-of-life. Training and resident engagement are proposed to empower and grow the community, targeted at particularly vulnerable groups (elderly, women and young low- income families). The co-management model is also part of E-Co-Housing as the municipality and the residents are monitoring the project together. As for the Home Silk Road project, it aims at combatting the homelessness through a set of community-led actions related to the rehabilitation of the Silk area of Lyon.
Most of the projects take an integrative approach and combine a large range of actions dealing with economic, social and environmental issue. The combination of these different approaches and solutions creates a new framework in which innovation can be found.
NB : The above-mentioned projects are addressing the housing issue through an integrative approach which is also used by several UIA projects selected for other topics. For example, four of them are dealing with urban poverty or integration of migrants and refugees and provide housing solutions:
- 5Bridges – Creating bridges between homeless and local communities, Nantes (Urban poverty)
- Curing the Limbo – From apathy to active citizenship: Empowering refugees and migrants in limbo state to ignite housing affordability, Athens (Integration of migrants and refugees)
- CURANT – Co-housing and case management for Unaccompanied young adult refugees in ANTwerp, Antwerp (Integration of migrants and refugees)
- DARE – Digital Environment for collaborative Alliances to Regenerate urban Ecosystems in middle-sized cities, Ravenna (Digital Transition)