First responses for affordable housing at a time of Covid-19 pandemics

This blog post includes inputs from members of the Partnership on Affordable Housing:

Michaela Kauer, coordinator of the Partnership and Director of the Brussels Liaison Office of the City of Vienna, Barbara Steenbergen, Head of EU liaison office and Member of the Executive Committee of the International Union of Tenants (IUT) and Sorcha Edwards Secretary General of Housing Europe.

Cities and tenants are really under pressure at the moment, and many are at the risk of eviction, provided nothing is done. We hear terrible stories, but also have some good news, as from Vienna, which clearly stated that no one in the municipal housing stock will be evicted if they cannot pay their rent, and the city´s energy company will not stop energy provision if people cannot pay the bill.

Unfortunately, rent law is a national competence, so as city, we can only set an example. In the case of Vienna, the social and cooperative housing providers luckily follow the example of the city, but there remains danger in the private sector. Germany decided to stop evictions in its big Covid-19-crisis package. Barcelona issued a memorandum on rents during the crisis and uses vacant tourist apartments to help families in need and homeless people.

On housing, a lot is currently going on in cities.  Some example are being listed here.

Housing Europe provides on its website the latest updates on actions of Europe's public, social and cooperative Housing Providers (available here).

A Members Forum has been established to go into more specific technical questions on www.housingevolutions.eu

The International Union of Tenants (IUT) and its  members are currently concentrating on legislation that prevents tenants from being evicted in times of the Corona crisis. The NGO has been successful with a moratorium in Portugal, France, The Netherlands, Germany. 

An updated overview about the measures taken to protect residents is available here.

The IUT has issued a statement available here.

More information

Housing, the front line defence against the COVID-19 outbreak,” says the UN special rapporteur on housing, Leilani Farha (watch here).