Welcome to Cities engaging in the right to housing

This platform builds on an initiative led by UIA and URBACT in 2020 to exchange practices among city administrations implementing rights-based housing politics.
The chronic housing crisis, the importance of housing to secure lives under COVID-19, the growing number of people experiencing homelessness – all these issues call for transformative change in the political, social and economic spheres of contemporary societies. While all governments are implicated, cities are the ground where housing justice can be met in reality.

This is the first collaboration between UIA and URBACT. The initiative focuses on what city administrations can do, and are already doing, to de-commodify and de-financialise the housing system, support experimentations in alternative and collective forms of tenures, adopt successfully experimented models such as ‘Housing First’, defend and expand the public social housing sector, and more.

As part of a new EU-level dynamic developing in regard to housing policies in 2020, the Initiative looked at three broad and deeply interrelated thematic areas where cities in UIA and URBACT have been particularly active: collaborative housing; no one left behind; and fair finance.

Europe faces an urgent need for long-term political commitment to adequate housing

While housing is a key determinant of health, well-being and the capacity to fully enjoy a safe and dignified life, European cities face numerous challenges in ensuring adequate housing.

  • The number of people sleeping rough rose by 70% in the EU over past ten years
  • 9.6% of the EU population spent 40% or more of their household income on housing in 2018
  • 21.9% of all children in the EU were living in overcrowded housing in 2018
  • Rents in major European cities have reached staggering heights, with vulnerable groups
    seeing mounting difficulties in accessing and securing adequate housing
  • Housing commodification has intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, with accelerating growth in house prices (OECD) and fluctuating housing markets impacting potentially the most disadvantaged.

In 2021 the EU parliament adopted a resolution “Access to adequate housing should be a fundamental European right”, and the Portuguese European Presidency is on its path to take forward the  European pillar of social rights to launch a collaborative platform on homelessness.

In this platform you can explore solutions adopted by UIA and URBACT cities, with inputs from experts, researchers and activists.

The scope is to provide hands-on practices and reflection through case studies, resources and strategies adopted by cities in UIA and URBACT. In this way, the initiative will:

Policymakers, urban practitioners, activists, researchers, EU organisations and EU Urban Agenda members are invited to share their knowledge and views to create new alliances for the #Right2Housing.