Press release – Putting sustainability, inclusivity and equality at the heart of EU housing policies.



Consumers and behavioural change


In recent years, two major crises hit the world: the COVID-19 crisis, followed by the Russian war in Ukraine. Both have had devastating and lasting impacts on many people in Europe and beyond, affecting the most those who were already feeling vulnerable. Safe and equal housing for marginalised people should be a priority yet the situation on the ground reflects a poor consideration of the topic. Now 13 organisations across Europe are coming together to collaborate on a project funded by the European Horizon Europe programme, that will address the widespread challenges of housing inequality. The project partners will use innovative approaches and methodologies to analyse different dimensions of housing inequality, focusing on marginalised communities across Europe with a particular emphasis on communities in or from Eastern Europe, and contributing to policy measures to increase access to affordable, inclusive and sustainable housing.

The problem of housing inequality impacts many in the EU, with those already living in or at risk of poverty disproportionately affected. Many suffer from poor living conditions, such as overcrowded households, lack of access to energy, employment, transport and more. Energy poverty is increasing, with 9.3% of the EU population unable to keep their homes adequately warm in 2022 . The recent surge in energy and fuel prices exacerbated by the war in Ukraine has worsened this situation. On top of this is the cost of housing, with 10.8% of the EU population living in a household where housing costs represent more than 40% of disposable income .

Housing is an essential pillar upon which to build sustainable, healthy, and inclusive conditions for marginalised communities. Unaffordable and poor-quality housing is a cause for concern in the EU as it can lead to related problems such as increased healthcare costs, reduced productivity, and environmental damage. Europe needs homes that are healthy, sustainable and offer social and economic opportunities for communities to thrive. The 2021 European Parliament Resolution on access to decent and affordable housing for all requires the European Commission and Member States to invest more in social, public, energy-efficient, adequate, and affordable housing.

HouseInc seeks to contribute to Europe’s green and just transition by explicitly addressing the question of social justice in the housing sector. The project will investigate housing inequality, with a special emphasis on energy poverty, but will also examine how housing inequality impacts leisure, mobility, employment and health. A multinational survey will be carried out with roughly 8,000 participants across 8 countries to provide a snapshot of the impact of both COVID-19 and the invasion of Ukraine on the different dimensions of housing inequality. The project will put communities at the heart of the project by focusing on citizen engagement and seeks to empower communities in co-creating solutions in a series of living labs. The main output of the project will be a set of validated policy recommendations that help policymakers understand the economic, social and ecological drivers of housing inequalities. In addition, HouseInc will develop concrete solutions to increase access to inclusive and affordable housing for marginalised groups. The project is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and partners include organisations working on the ground with diverse marginalised communities including refugees, Roma communities, migrants from Eastern Europe as well as elderly, with a focus on 4 pilots in Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Romania.


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