Voices from cities about “Housing for All”

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Fourteen Members of the European Parliament from Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and The Netherlands are backing Housing for All’s demands and call for signing the European Citizens’ initiative “Housing for All“.

We have asked representatives from different European cities why it is so important to sign the petition and fight for social housing:

Wohnen ist Menschenrecht und die soziale Frage unserer Zeit. Die Spekulation mit diesem grundlegenden Menschenrecht muss in Europa gebremst werden.”

Klaus Lederer, Bürgermeister und Berliner Europasenator

The fact, that MEPs support the ECI Housing for All is a very important signal. A Europe-wide problem needs a Europe-wide answer. Affordable housing has to be part of the public responsibility.

Michael Ludwig, Mayor of Vienna

As Mayor of Brussels, I fully support the European Citizens’ Initiative “Housing for All”. Many citizens across Europe face daily difficulties in accessing quality housing: prohibitive prices, ever-increasing rents, rising rental charges, etc. To alleviate this crisis, which mainly affects the populations on the lowest incomes, the City of Brussels has put in place a major energy renovation plan for its social housing to enable residents to reduce their energy bills, improve their daily lives and contribute to the fight against climate change. European funding is an absolute necessity in this area.”

Philippe Close, Mayor of Brussels

‘The growing inability of families and individuals to put a secure affordable roof over their heads is having a detrimental impact on our society and its ability to support equality of opportunity for all citizens. It is of significant concern that housing has become a global commodity that is traded to the highest bidder to make the biggest profit possible. This marketisation of housing is excluding more and more ordinary working people, leaving them living in a situation of housing precarity and the risk of homelessness. This impacts on employment and education opportunities, it impacts on mental health and well-being and it impacts on social inclusion and community cohesion.
It is now time for the European Commission to prioritise public housing. It needs to change the legal and financial framework conditions to allow massive public investment in building public (social and affordable) housing. It cannot allow the housing needs of our citizens to be thrown to the private for -profit markets but rather must view housing as the creation of homes and communities for our citizens.  It’s time to act! Europe needs to lead and create the pathway for Housing for All!’

Alison Gilliland, Chairperson Dublin City Council Strategic Policy Committee for Housing

“Eine Union der Bürger muss seine Mitgliedsstaaten dazu befähigen, in angemessenen und bezahlbaren Wohnraum zu investieren. Dazu müssen die Maastricht-Kriterien angepasst werden, damit öffentliche Investitionen in den Wohnungsbau erleichtert werden, um Spekulanten einen Riegel vorzuschieben.
Aber auch der private Markt muss verpflichtet werden, nicht nur Wohnraum für Gutverdiener zu schaffen, etwa durch eine flächenbezogene Sozialquote für Neubauten. Sozialer Wohnungsbau muss in Deutschland und in Europa neu geregelt werden. Die Sozialbindung darf nicht mehr wegfallen – das sollte ein Ziel für ein sozialeres Europa sein.

Als Bezirksbürgermeisterin im Stadtbezirk West in der Landeshauptstadt des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, kenne ich all diese Probleme. Da dieser Zustand menschengemacht ist, kann er auch von Menschen abgeschafft werden. Der Wohnungsmarkt braucht entschlossene und schnell wirksame Maßnahmen.”

Isolde Ries, erste Vizepräsidentin, Landtag des Saarlandes

“Housing has become the defining social and economic issue of our times. It is housing which is at the forefront of improving energy efficiency and fighting energy poverty. It is housing that will make or break the EU’s Green Deal.

“The PES Group in the European Committee of the Regions is therefore an unequivocal supporter since the very beginning of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) on “Housing for All”. As an urgent first step, we expect the European Commission to seize the momentum of the ECI and present an EU Action Plan on Affordable Housing, which would build on a strong EU cohesion policy and encompass a revision of the state aid rules applicable to social housing. Local and regional authorities should be empowered by the EU to proactively provide social housing to those whose housing needs cannot be met by the market.”

Christophe Rouillon, President of the PES group in the European Committee of the Regions and Mayor of Coulaines (France)

19. December 2019