Financing affordable social housing in Europe (UN-Habitat, 2009)
  • Financing affordable social housing in Europe
  • The principal author is Michael Oxley. Published by UN-Habitat in 2009
  • Available as a PDF file on the International Union of Tenants site:
  • Summary:
    • This report evaluates the range of approaches to financing social housing that are in operation in Europe.
    • It identifies the key features that may be replicable in other countries particularly the developing world.
    • The evaluation is placed in the context of
      • the purpose of social housing,
      • the sources of funds of social housing
      • and the institutions that are used to provide social housing.
    • The size and composition of the social housing stock in different countries and the types of provider are identified.
    • The importance of the rent setting method and the allocation system are explained.
    • The relationships between public and private sources of funds and the conditions that promote a flow of commercial funding into social housing are identified.
    • The structure of European social housing finance systems and the roles of loans, subsidies and equity financing are explored.
    • Finance for construction and maintenance is considered and subsidies from public funds as well as cross-subsidies from other sectors of the economy are explored.
    • The effectiveness of social housing finance systems in achieving their purpose and the issues that influence the transferability of European approaches to other countries are discussed.
  • Keywords: housing crisis, affordability, social housing, financialisation of housing
Interestingly, in her foreword to the report, Anna Tibaijuka, the then-executive director of UN-Habitat, and this was back in 2009, states: "The global housing crisis, especially in the developing world, is getting worse by the day making the right to adequate shelter a quest that is becoming more and more difficult to meet".
One can see today's housing crisis as just the most recent phase of a decades-long process in which decent housing has generally been getting less and less affordable almost everywhere.
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