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Highly Inspirational EFL Conference in Paris on Innovative Social Housing Financing Strategies

by | Dec 10, 2018

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Close to one hundred housing professionals from across twelve European countries and the U.S. shared two, educational and informative days at the offices of Paris Habitat, the largest social housing company in France.

A program packed with enlightening presentations offered the audience deep insights into the financial challenges affordable housing providers face and new solutions for increasingly complex situations.

Key note presenter Professor Christine Whitehead of the London School of Economics set the stage with an introduction on sharply declining public support for social housing in most European countries. Given the high ambitions for new construction and regeneration of existing homes, Professor Whitehead explained new ways of private financing, including issuance of bonds, social impact investment, and private equity. Nevertheless, she concluded that social and public housing is a very robust asset class, and public interest is slowly increasing again in post crises times.

Following presentations focussed on the alternative financing approaches and developments in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and the UK. In very concrete terms, housing association CEOs of the Dutch Parteon,  Berlin based Gewobag, French Paris Habitat, and London based Clarion Housing Group addressed new ways to sustain the funding of their housing ambitions.

In the afternoon, Rob Wiener, director of the Californian Coalition of Rural Housing, explained how the U.S. state of California tackles problems fueled by the housing crisis, which disadvantaged households must face and what strategies are used to support the construction of affordable housing. A clear lesson to be learned is how  fiscal support, combined with dedicated instruments to raise private capital, forms a backbone for U.S. social housing. With starkly reduced federal funding under the Trump administration and earlier governments, California has creatively developed new financial opportunities to fight homelessness and combat poverty.

The second conference day showcased the professional growth of the EFL network and its development over the years.  Members presented the outcomes of EFL topic groups and shared the results of projects for which EFL is involved.  In particular, presentations on the creation of the first European housing cooperative, ‘Living in Metropolises’ (LiM), by EFL member 1892, the EFL scientific book project on innovations in affordable housing by TU Delft, and projects related to digitisation and sustainable development caught the interest of our members. 

The conference was kindly hosted by Paris Habitat, Groupe Polylogis and PERL

All presentations can be downloaded by EFL members and associates through this link to the EFL Digital Library  (password required to enter the member area).

The next conference will take place in Milan, Italy, on November 7th – 8th.

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As member or associate of EFL you get entrance to a unique network in the housing sector, offering opportunities for cooperation and doing business. Housing companies, both in the social housing and private sector can sign up as a member. Companies in the chain of value creation within the housing industry and development can apply for an asscoiated partnership. EFL is also open for scientific institutes and public organisations.

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