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Housing

Although the right to housing has been affirmed for decades by numerous international instruments, it remains only a dream for the millions of people in Europe suffering from non-housing and poor housing conditions. In some countries such as Ireland and Spain, these problems have been exacerbated by the crisis that started in 2008 and the recession that followed. Thousands of families found themselves suddenly unable to pay their mortgages, and those that faced eviction were left homeless.

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In the face of these dramatic situations, civil society is organising itself - either in collaboration with institutions or independently - to find solutions and ensure access to decent housing. What actions exactly are being implemented and how can institutions facilitate the development of these actions?

We present below some original actions (in orange) that are being implemented across the continent as well as policies (in green) (tax laws, etc.) that support these actions and facilitate access to housing.

Image Pictures by CLT Bruxelles, Ruben Mendez, globalproject, Corrala de vecinas La Utopía and livingarchitecturecentre.com

Reusing abandoned buildings

While millions of people are homeless or having to live in inadequate housing as many, if not more, homes are empty and abandoned. In Spain, the number of unused or vacant houses is estimated to be over 3 million.

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Occupying abandoned buildings

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 12:18 -

The reusing of abandoned housing may be provided by through law or policy. In other cases, the occupation of buildings is done without the consent of the legal owner of the premises, despite it lying vacant and unused, and is therefore considered illegal.

Mapping abandoned buildings

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 09:55 -

As hundreds of buildings contine to lie abandoned and unused all across Europe, creative initiatives have appeared in several European countries that aim at mapping abandoned buildings in the hope that they will be later used in some shape or form.

Bail emphytéotique

Auteur : Anne-Iris - Publié le : 2013-06-05 13:15 -

Often seen as a way of legalizing the occupation of spaces where activities of community interest are being performed, the emphyteutic lease is a type of long-term real estate contract that provides large rights to the lessees on condition of taking care of the land or building and paying a small rent.

The soft requisition bill

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-05-15 12:54 -

Facilitates negotiation talks with the owners of abandoned buildings and other unused premises.

Bill in Andalucía

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 12:47 -

Based on Ex-propriation and fines in order to avoid buildings lying empty while families and individuals face homelessness on the streets of Andalucía, Spain.

Self-construction

Everywhere in Europe, individuals, families and groups of people are choosing to build their own homes themselves. The self-construction concept - generally used to create low-cost housing - responds to the wishes of future residents who are free to imagine their own home and take ownership of their future living space; as well, it often incorporates an ecological dimension. In many cases, the construction phase is a collective process involving friends, other members of a group or community, neighbours, etc. The self-construction process can be realised in different settings, ranging from an individual approach to a collective project.

Click Here For Examples

Self-constructed communities

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 13:09 -

Self-construction can be part of a community project where the members of a community help one in each other to build their own houses

Stimulating self-construction

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 13:13 -

Several initiatives aim at sharing knowledge and facilitating self-construction, be it in housing, farming facilities, shelters, etc.

Public-Commons partnership

In terms of access to housing, new hybrid forms are emerging that bring together public authorities with civil society.

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Community Land Trusts

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 13:37 -

Community Land Trusts (CLT) combine 'access to housing' with the principle of 'democratic management' in everyday living.

Sharing houses

To reduce everyday costs and live a collective experience, groups of people are choosing to opt for shared accommodation. Collocations, co-housing and other types of group housing can also help to combat isolation, suffered by many people experiencing poverty or insecurity.

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Sharing a place to stay

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-27 09:16 -

Worldwide, a variety of on-line platforms have been developed to facilitate the hosting of persons.

Intergenerational solidarity housing

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-15 13:54 -

Intergenerational solidarity housing initiatives enable young students to be hosted cheaply by seniors in exchange of a small presence and services that can in no way however be a substitute for professional care services.

Sharing a building

Auteur : Anne-Iris Romens - Publié le : 2013-05-15 08:38 -

Shared housing experiences, such as neighbours living in the same building, may result in better organisation and sharing of resources, thus facilitating greater access to all involved. Take for example, the sharing of food through the establishment of a group-purchased building, or organising shared care of loved ones.

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ALL examples of Actions and Policies

  • Please note: ACTIONS (in orange) and POLICIES (in green)
Click HERE for the examples

Solidarity Bulgaria (SB)

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 14:20 -

Solidarity Bulgaria is a discussion network of citizens believing in the values of freedom, solidarity and justice. The initiative promotes discussions on important social issues, ranging from poverty to social security to housing. The Group is active in social & environmental issues as well as standards of living. The aim is to empower civil society and restore solidarity through active discussions, public initiatives, drafting of legal changes and elaboration of position papers.

Officine Zero

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-06-12 13:33 -

Conversion of an abandoned factory into a space for sustainable production, co-housing and co-working.

Infirmiers de rue (Street nurses)

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-05-13 08:58 -
Infirmiers de rue

Infirmiers de rue bridges the gap between the streets and health actors to bring care and hygiene to homeless people through an empowering method around people’s dignity, self-esteem and responsibility. Using hygiene as an entry point for self-recovery, the Association ensures long-term support until housing re-insertion.

Corrala La Utopía

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-29 14:56 -

A collective project of a self-organised group of families - in urgent need of housing - who have occupied a building owned by a bank partly responsible for the crisis.

Shared Condominium

Auteur : alessandra sciurba - Publié le : 2013-04-26 12:58 -

Confabitare, an association of residents of condominiums, owners or tenants, organised within a single project of two actions: 1 - Organisation within the condominium of a shared food expenditure through a condominium purchasing group. 2 - Sharing of caring needs for the elderly through a shared "care worker" of the condominium.

Living Architecture

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-25 08:17 -

Living Architecture articulates the vital link which exists between architecture and life. This synthesis of abstract and physical considerations has shown itself in practice to be an ideal means to address many of the demands of modern life, particularly how to live ‘sustainably’.

Comunità La Zattera (The Raft Community)

Auteur : alessandra sciurba  - Publié le : 2013-04-21 09:22 -

A community of lay Combonian missionaries obtains a space whereby it starts a process of co-habitation by the pooling together of resources. The new space is also aimed at being a place of welcome and hospitality for people in need.

Taxi Stop

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-04-19 12:32 -
Taxistop Logo

Organisation enabling sharing since 1975: ride-sharing: Carpoolplaza, Eurostop, Eventpool. Car-Sharing: Cambio-car-sharing, Autopia P2P. Homelink, home-sitting. Social transport service for less mobile people, done by volunteers...

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Liège neighborhood Mediation

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-12 15:09 -

Neighborhood Mediation is a proximity tool used to pacify conflicts and tensions in Liege’s targeted areas may they be of all kinds (intergenerational/intercultural) and develop mutual respect and self-empowerement of inhabitants.

Bail emphytéotique

Auteur : Anne-Iris - Publié le : 2013-06-05 13:15 -

Often seen as a way of legalizing the occupation of spaces where activities of community interest are being performed, the emphyteutic lease is a type of long-term real estate contract that provides large rights to the lessees on condition of taking care of the land or building and paying a small rent.

The soft requisition bill

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-05-15 12:54 -

Facilitates negotiation talks with the owners of abandoned buildings and other unused premises.

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