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European Parliament adopted a report on Access to Decent and Affordable Housing for all, recommending measures to Member States and European Commission. [editar]

FSG Internacional

European Parliament adopted a report on Access to Decent and Affordable Housing for all, recommending measures to Member States and European Commission. The report recommends an Integrated Strategy on public, social and affordable housing to be issued by the European Commission, guaranteeing the right to decent housing for all. 

Presented by Greens/EFA through the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, the report is calling on European Commission and Member states to adopt the right to decent housing as key element, in compliance with the European Pillar on Social Rights. Both EC and Member States are encouraged to design and finance initiatives to guarantee the right to decent, accessible and affordable housing in the European Union. The report outlines that COVID crisis and sheltering at home measures has made clear the severe house deprivation, inequality on accessing housing market, lack of minimum conditions (access to running water, adequate temperature, overcrowded houses) affecting the most vulnerable population and widening discrimination and poverty. Roma population is severely affected by unequal housing conditions, segregated neighbourhoods, lack of access to basic services and public policies, especially for non sedentary Roma. 

The report outlines as well how forced eviction's suspension during the COVID crisis proved that when there is political will, housing as a right can and should be prioritised. 
As Member States are currently planning both ordinary resources through Multi Annual Financial Framework and extraordinary resources from Next Generation Recovery and Resilience Plan, right to decent housing should be ensured, prioritizing vulnerable population. 

During the last ten years, the number of homeless people within the EU has raised 70%, and over 4% of the European Population suffers severe house deprivation. The report urges the Commission and Member States to take active measures to guarantee the access to decent and affordable housing for European Population through investment, transparency and fight against discrimination. 

 Segregated housing and discrimination affect mainly population at poverty risk and vulnerable communities such as Roma. Ensuring the right to decent housing, as stated on the European Pillar of Social Rights involves active policies against discrimination. The recent European Framework for Roma Equality, Inclusion and Participation 2020-2030 establishes housing deprivation reduction and access to sanitation and water as objectives, establishing indicators and encouraging Member States to monitor its accomplishment. The coming National Strategic Policy Frameworks are going to be key planning documents to ensure right to housing. 

The housing report adopted by the European Parliament, recalls that public investments to  fight spatial segregation, preventing forced evictions and establishing resting areas for non sedentary Roma population are essential. 

Discrimination affects also homeless people, suffering from criminalization. In this sense, the report encourages Member States to commit to end homelessness by 2030 and prioritise the provision of permanent housing to homeless people. Enforcing the Racial Equality Directive and launching infringement procedures against Member States that criminalize homeless people are key measures. Alignment of national housing strategies with anti-poverty strategies, considering child poverty allow ensuring that people and their rights are being at the centre of public policies. 

Other collectives are also discriminated in access to housing, states the report, quoting a FRA recent study that shows data on discrimination of gay, lesbian, intersex and bisexual people when accessing to housing, affecting trans people in over a 21% in the last 12 months. 

Investing in social housing

Within the European Region, there coexist multiple options to confront lack of housing. However, social, public and cooperative housing is less prevalent and housing access is more insecure in Southern and Eastern Europe. When planning European Cohesion Funds such as ERDG, ESF+, Just Transition Fund or Next Generation EU, Member states should increase investment on social housing and fight homelessness, and use the resources for  fostering social cohesion through urban planning. 

European funding offers an opportunity in the right timing. Country specific recommendations and European Semester should include measures to ensure the right to decent housing through measures such as rent control, price transparency, long term rental contracts as default option and tenants and owners protection from eviction. 

Recovery Plans to be undertaken by Member States with European funding during the next six years are encouraging a productive model transformation towards greener and smarter economy. Investment on housing renovation, energy- efficient buildings, fight against energetic poverty and ensuring decent housing complying with WHO's standards, focusing on vulnerable population. The household income dedicated to housing should not exceed 25%, states the report, therefore the House Price Index should be refined. 


Short-term holiday rental is driving up prices and fostering investors to treat housing as a tradable asset rather than a human right. A regulatory framework for holiday rental, at European level, encouraging transparency and information, is highly recommended. 
Over indebtment due to high housing prices has raised, affecting 80 million people. Over 10% of European population spend more than 40% of their income in housing. 

With this data, the report states, an integrated European strategy would allow ensuring the access to decent housing, putting people at the centre of investment and recovery policies over the next decade. 


(photo credits: Kim Van Sparrentak, MEP)