Vita Europe

Responsible Housing is taking over Europe

17 Ottobre Ott 2014 1730 17 ottobre 2014

The first European agreement on Responsible Housing between Housing providers & Tenants was launched in Brussels

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The first European agreement on Responsible Housing between Housing providers & Tenants was launched in Brussels

On the International Tenants’ Day, representatives from Tenants Unions and non-for-profit Housing Providers from across the EU presented the European declaration on Responsible Housing, that was also undersigned by the Housing Minister of Scotland, Margaret Burgess, and Vienna’s housing Councilor Michael Ludwig. The final ceremony of the European Responsible Housing Awards was also celebrated on the same occasion, awarding organisations from all over Europe.

Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe, stressed the importance of the initiative, as it puts “a spotlight on best practice from the non-for-profit, public, social and cooperative sector, with the backdrop of the on-going recession and growing inequalities resulting in part from irresponsible practices in the financial and housing sector”.

The International Union of Tenants, Housing Europe and DELPHIS (French network of housing providers) finalized a twofold voluntary agreement on Corporate Social Responsibility, including a Code of Conduct for housing providers and a European Declaration signed by EU stakeholders in the sector. Affordable housing providers agree on clear principles for long-term investment in building construction and renovation, neighborhoods, human resources, and fair relations with stakeholders, notably the tenants. Through the European Declaration, housing stakeholders call for the development of CSR in public, cooperative and social housing.

Barbara Steenbergen (IUT), chair of the stakeholder forum and president of the jury stressed that “responsible housing agreement shows the strength of the sector as a motor for social innovation. Backed up by housing providers, tenants’ unions and EU key stakeholders, it shows the partnership and the commitment to create social and economic returns for citizens and communities by providing affordable housing and the empowerment of residents.”

The winning housing organisations awarded during the final ceremony of the European Responsible Housing Awards in Brussels were:

- RCT Homes (Pontypridd, Wales) in “Economic responsibility and sustainability”, for its extensive training program targeting young tenants.

- Eigen Haard (Amsterdam, Netherlands) in “Local social sustainability”, for enhancing neighborhoods and strengthening community links .

- Société Dauphinoise pour l’Habitat (Echirolles, France) in “Environmental sustainability” for renovating buildings at zero cost for tenants.

- Dansk Almennyttigt Boligselskab (Frederiksberg, Denmark) in “Good governance and fair relations with stakeholders”, for effective residential democracy and tenants’ empowerment.

- Habitat 62/59 Picardie (Coquelles, France) in “Responsible Human resources management”, for ensuring safety at work in an innovative way.

A total of 25 projects were shortlisted and are now gathered in a handbook available online at www.responsiblehousing.eu