“Housing governance to support housing affordability”
is a Regional Online Workshop that took place during the last week of February 2021. It was co-organized by the Ministry of Environment and Spatial planning of Slovenia and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), together with the support of Housing Europe, the Union for the Mediterranean and UN-Habitat. The event opened up for a discussion about the undersupply of affordable housing, homelessness, rising urban rents, low quality of housing and urban infrastructure, limited access to land for housing construction and renovation, and mounting urban poverty in the UNECE region. These challenges has been long on rise, however, the Covid-19 pandemic situation made the need of sustainable and affordable housing one of the most important policy challenges of current days.
Affordable and adequate housing is far from being a standard within the UNECE region and is especially important for vulnerable groups which at the same time suffer also from limited access to healthcare, fuel poverty and price inflation. Moreover, mounting unemployment connected with Covid-19 pandemic widens the number of people in the need of housing and other basic services even more. The UNECE, representing a diverse region with ranging national and local contexts of housing sector and its legal frameworks, decided to organize this online workshop to share knowledge and good practice for inspiration and allowing others to formulate viable and sustainable solutions to long-standing housing issues in this region together with responding to the world pandemic crisis.
The workshop was organized as a two days event. The first day of the workshop was dedicated to the theme of key international initiatives on affordable housing in Europe and on governance for affordable, adequate and healthy housing for all.
The morning of the second day was reserved for discussion of #Housing2030: Improving Housing Affordability in the UNECE Region. It is a new UNECE study under development with a goal of improving capacities of national and local governments to formulate policies that improve housing affordability and sustainability in the UNECE region. As one of the topics of this study addresses housing governance and regulation, the UNECE reserved this time for workshop session with a focus on the preparation of this chapter of the #Housing2030 study.
The final session of the two-day workshop called “Governance of the housing sector: Focus on South-East Europe” was oriented towards housing policies in countries of the South-Eastern Europe.
Andrew Popelka, a representative of the USAID which provides funding for REELIH project, contributed to the session with a comprehensive presentation of a new comparative study Gap Analysis of the Housing Sector In Western Balkan Countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia VS. Slovak Republic. The study identifies and analyses the gaps in housing regulations in the Western Balkans.
REELIH project is mentioned in this study to manifest its impact on establishing mechanisms that help people in REELIH implementing countries to find consensus and get finances for renovation of the multi-owner apartment buildings.
Andrew Popelka admits that the multi-owned apartment buildings lack the attention of the donors since the multi-ownership of the building complicates the overall decision making prior and also during the renovation works. That is another reason why REELIH works on creating more financing possibilities for these buildings, providing technical assistance and serving as a mediator in the complex environment of many stakeholders included.
We would like to thank the UNECE for organizing this workshop and to Andrew Popelka from USAID for his contribution to this workshop, again showcasing REELIH as a good practice in the region of Central and Eastern Europe.
Find more information about the UNECE workshop here.
Find a new comparative study by USAID here.