Universal access to housing that is decent, sustainable and affordable over the long term
By Raymond Hencks
The increasing shortage of decent and affordable housing in a large number of EU Member States is undeniably a cause of rising inequalities, indebtedness and social exclusion that is of great concern.
It is not only the homeless or the poor who are suffering from this crisis anymore. The shortage of decent and affordable housing is affecting more and more middle-class citizens who cannot benefit from social housing. On the one hand, their income is too high for them to be entitled as a priority to one of those rare social accommodations and, on the other hand, it is too low for them to be able to afford to rent or acquire an accommodation on the private market.
As the numerous initiatives, aids and investments in the residential housing sector at EU, national, regional and local level have not helped solve this structural crisis, the EESC is proposing a European action plan for decent and affordable housing as part of the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the future Green Deal plan on 'buildings'.
The proposed action plan should cover a comprehensive and understandable set of measures to help Member States, regions and cities in Europe to sustainably boost the supply of decent and affordable housing while improving the buildings' performance from the aspects of health and energy.