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100 organisations, 100 years of affordable housing!

On the occasion of the 2nd International Festival of Social Housing and in conjunction with the “History of Social Housing in Europe” exhibition organised by USH – L’Union Sociale pour L’habitat, Housing Europe and AVS – Asociación Española de Gestores Públicos de Vivienda y Suelo, organised a celebration of more than 100 federations and social landlords, active for 100 years and more.

Welcoming remarks came from Cédric Van Styvendael, President of Housing Europe and Jerónimo Escalera Gómez, President of AVS, and last but not least, Carine Puyol of USH who presented the exhibition itself, and which can be found online here.

Champions time” – 100 providers with over 100 years of history

A small gift in the form of a clay plaque marking “100 years housing those in need” done in the traditional Andalucian style was given by AVS to the 100 year old federations and their members to celebrate their long histories and renew their commitment for years to come.

Limited profit housing cooperation EBG (Gemeinnützige Ein- und Mehrfamilienhäuser
Baugenossenschaft reg. Gen. m. b. H.
) of Vienna, founded in 1910, and represented by Alexander Gluttig were the first to accept their gift.

Followed by GBV (Österreichischer Verband gemeinnütziger Bauvereinigungen) the Austrian Federation of Limited-Profit Housing Associations represented by Dr. Gerlinde Gutheil-Knopp-Kirchwald. Their stock represents about a fifth of the total Austria housing stock and about 40% of multi-family housing.

Björn Mallants represented VVH (De Vereniging van Vlaamse Huisvestingsmaatschappijen) the representative umbrella organsiation of Flemish social housing companies. The total number of managed dwelling units by Vvh members: 150,000.

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BL (Danmarks Almene Boliger) in Denmark was represented by Solveig Råberg Tingey. In Denmark, 1 out 6 people live in social housing.

Céline Reynaud, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Est Metropole Habitat shared how they aim to “participate in construction of a city with good life, conditions that are consistent and balanced” and who “place innovation at heart of its mission to invent new ways of living, in collaboration with inhabitants and partners”.

Laurent Ghekiere represented USH, whose original aim was to build a permanent link between different federations of social housing. In 2019, it has a role in national representation, information, support and assistance and to members and finally, a mission of reflection, analysis and study on all subjects related to housing.

Stéphane Dauphin and Bertrand Bret accepted the gift on behalf of Paris Habitat, founded in 1914, today managing around 120,000 homes.

Patrice Vitteaux accepted the prize on behalf of Polylogis, a French independent social landlord, with a turnover of €496 million and workforce of 1,260 people.

French not-for-profit public housing company Savoisienne habitat was represented by Samuel Rabillard. Savoisienne habitat focus on tailor-made quality and believe that the cooperative ideal is to ensure the best safety and protection of buyers.

German company Bauverein Halle was represented by Guido Schwarzendahl. Established in 1910, today they have more than 7,500 dwellings in four cities.

Özgür Öner accepted the prize on behalf of GdW (Bundesverband deutscher Wohnungs- und Immobilienunternehmen e.V.), the Federal Association of German Housing and Real Estate Companies. GdW represents nearly 30% of all rental flats in Germany, about 1.2 million of which are social housing.

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For over 125 years, The Iveagh Trust, represented by Gene Clayton, has offered has offered affordable rented housing to people on low incomes and has been a vital part of the architectural and social fabric of Dublin city.

Marcello Mazzù represented ATC (Agenzia Territoriale per la Casa), founded in 1907 and currently managing a housing stock of 30,000 units.

Marcello hung out on the podium for another while to accept the prize on behalf of FEDERCASA, the Italian Federation for Public Social Housing, who represent 80 public social housing companies and have done so for over a century.

Robin van Leijen represented Dutch housing association Welbions. In the Hengelo and Borne municipalities, 1 in 4 residents live in a Welbions home.

AFWC (Amsterdamse Federatie van Woning Corporaties) was represented by Egbert de Vries. AFWC’s nin housing associations own 42% of the total amount of dwellings in Amsterdam, offering an average rent of €488 a month.

José María Escolástico Sánchez accepted the gift on behalf of Viviendas Municipales de Bilbao, a local autonomous organisation attached to the housing area of Bilbao City Council.

Felipe Castro Bermúdez-Coronel represented Emvisesa Sevilla, who value “legitimacy, transparency, responsibility, innovation, quality and continuous improvement”.

Finally, Rebecca Omorgie accepted the gift on behalf of the Federation of Swiss Cooperatives (Wohnbaugenossenschaften schweiz ostschweiz regionalverband der gemeinnützigen wohnbauträger), who added a valuable additional view that we usually lack at EU level.

Summing up, as host of the event Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe noted that it is clear from the individual stories of dedication from those organisations represented, that the sector continues to adapt to new challenges posed by  societal changes as it has done also over the last 100 years illustrated in the “History of Social Housing in Europe” exhibition. What the discussions that evening and throughout the festival also showed is that with the wrong policies, the capacity of systems to meet challenges, even those with a strong history, can be drastically weakened in a very short time. The right policies are vital to achieve resilience.

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Source: Housing Europe

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