Social housing: a service of general interest to guarantee decent, energy-efficient and affordable accommodation for all?

According to the 19th principle of the European Pillar of Social Rights, "access to social housing or housing assistance of good quality shall be provided for those in need".

As a service of general economic interest, social housing is intended for households who can no longer afford decent accommodation on the traditional property market because, once housing costs have been deducted, their available income is not enough to meet their other basic needs.

The ability to exercise the right to housing depends on sufficient availability at affordable prices.

Given that the danger of excessive housing costs no longer affects only the most disadvantaged, but an ever-growing part of the population, the purpose of housing policy must not be restricted to assisting vulnerable individuals. It must also promote the supply of affordable homes for all, ensure that housing matches family needs, promote high-quality, energy-efficient housing, a social mix within buildings and urban areas, and tackle segregation.

In keeping with the subsidiarity principle, at European level housing policies are increasingly mainstreamed into other European strategies. They fall within the scope of certain provisions of the Treaty, including those regarding the Union's shared values and the European Pillar of Social Rights, and are linked to further fundamental rights such as human dignity and treatment.