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European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 A Social Innovative Initiative to Invade the Private.

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Presentation on theme: "European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 A Social Innovative Initiative to Invade the Private."— Presentation transcript:

1 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 A Social Innovative Initiative to Invade the Private Rental Market: The Case of Social Rental Agencies in Belgium Pascal De Decker Sint-Lucas Architecture Ghent/Brussels European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012

2 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Content SRA: what? Goals Regulation History, context, roots State of affairs Allocation of dwelling Recognition/basis

3 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 What? SRA’s are  non-profit organisations  dealing with housing problems of poor & vulnerable people  rooted in services dealing with the homeless persons Rent from private landlords and sublet to tenants  securing the payment of the rent (event in periods of vacancy)  securing housing quality  affordable rent to the subtenant  organising support if necessary ‘try to socialize’ the private rented sector – withdraw renting from free market mechanisms

4 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Landlord Requests: Prompt payment of the rent Maintenance of the house Rational occupation Judicial support Administrative support Accepts Below market/”social”rent Quality standards Rental contract for a period of 9 years No say in the profile of the subtenant SRA Offers: Guaranteed monthly payment of the rent Rental mediation Handyman’s service Legal occupation standard Professional counselling Requests: Affordable housing High-quality houses Housing certainty To be open to all candidate-tenants Fig.2: Overview of the partnership between an SRA and Landlord: Source: Adapted from OCMW Gent Presentation, 2012 HABITACT Peer Review

5 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 SRA Tenant Requests: Appropriate accommodation Affordable rent Security of tenure Support Agrees to provide Participation in rental counselling Maintenance of the house/being a good tenant Prompt payment Open communication SRA Offers: High-quality housing ‘’Social’’/affordable rent Rental subsidy 9-year rental agreement Rental counselling Agrees to provide: Professional rental counselor Support: “chore” team, link to welfare services Follow-up of the rent Mediation in case of arrears General assistance with enquiries etc Fig 3. Overview of the relationship an SRA and its tenants Source: Adapted from OCMW Gent Presentation, 2012 HABITACT Peer Review

6 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Goals Enlarge the number of available dwellings for vulnerable people Improve the quality of the accommodation at the bottom end of the housing market Use a socially correct rent

7 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Regulation Belgium=federal state, with ‘split responsibilties’ Changes underway (all housing responsibilities will be transfered) Private renting=federal matter  new rents are free  length of the lease is regulated  some subsidies (tax exempations) SRA’s=matter of the regions (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia)  subsidies for staff & working  rent allowance (under certain conditins)  renovation subsidies

8 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 History – context - roots Housing activism (1970s)  General: legal advise shops  tenant’s association (UK model)  Labour migrant discrimination  SRA avant la lettre Woonfonds Gent (idem in Antwerp & Brussels) Housing ‘crisis’  Economic crisis  drop new house construction (private & social)  Squeezed market  Freeing of private renting in times of crisis  New housing times (demographics)  more houses needed  Filtering up  filtering down: renting becomes more & more unaffordable (queeing for advertisers)  Cfr def social innovation: compensate for the market, which cannot address social needs De-institutionalisation  Welfare Work: experience increasing housing problems of its clients  De-institutionalisation (elimination of the ‘total institutions’/ideology of the small scale)  need ‘housing’ for the services itself

9 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Homeless service sector in general Growth after 1975  Due to the de-institutionalisation ideology  Professionalisation passing through philosophy – client has to become independent as soon as possible  theory vs reality: lots of failures small scale ideology  need for ordinary houses Idea of emancipation

10 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Consequence Welfare work ‘invades’ the housing market  SRA’s  Tenant’s associations Cfr: social innovation is a bottom-up proces

11 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Devepment of the SRA model Social innovations create new structures & methods  1985: the umbrella organisations of homeless organisations (VDVO) presents the SRA model  1993: foundation of the umbrella organisation of ‘new housing initiatives’ (VOB)  1993: 9 SRAs & VOB get subsidies as ‘experiments’  VOB has to develop a workable model  1997: integration of ‘rent services’ in the Flemish housing law = SRAs become a housing institution  Since then: different regulations aiming at making SRA’s stronger/bigger  2007: assessment through the eyes of the landlords

12 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 State of affairs (Flanders) subsidized Not subsidized10147 total Number of recognised SRAs

13 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 State of affairs subsidized2,3852,9054,600 Not subsidized total2,7923,5434,913 Number of dwellings Average number of dwellings per SRA rose from 54.8 in 1999, over 77 in 2006 to 96.3 in 2009 – largest: +500 dwellings

14 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 State of affairs New applications Total number of candidates Candidates/ dwelling 20066,73911, ,60812, ,16413, ,42513, Number of applications End ,635 households on waiting list -5,750 dwellings New applications in 2011: 10,910

15 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 State of affairs Work situation new tenants, 2009, %  unemployed17.6  subsistence income34.3  part-time job0.7  disability/illness10  work19.4  pension3.2  other5  no info9.3

16 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 State of affairs 33% were homeless at the moment of allocation  Homeless= living in a caravan, uninhabitable dwelling, living on the street, living in a service for homeless persons

17 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Allocation  Flemish regulation for all social rental dwellings, but differentiated, so SRAs can and do use a point system in order to fit with housing need (e.g. living on the street=higher score than someone living in an institution)  local municipalities can develop a local allocation system that refines the Flemish one, but they hardly do (avoid the risk)  there was the possibility to work besides this regulation in order to house very difficult ‘housable’ persons in a co- operation with welfare work

18 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Recognition/basis Recognition  political support in policy notes of political parties & policy notes of ministers and aldermen  support from the representatives of landlords  high satisfaction on landlords working with SRAs  But: difficult to enter the ‘crowded’ housing field

19 European Research Conference Access to Housing for Homeless People in Europe York, 21st September 2012 Further reading De Decker, P. (2002): On the rise of social rental agencies in Belgium, in: Urban Studies, vol. 39, nr. 2, p De Decker, P. (2009): Social rental agencies : still a splendid idea?, in: European Journal of Homelessness, vol 3, December, p Feantsa Office (2012): Social rental agencies: an innovative housing-led response to homelessness, Feantsa, Brussels.


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