The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Housing For All’ campaign, which aims to make affordable housing available for everyone in the EU, and has been backed by Fórsa, had its Irish launch in Dublin last week.
The ECI is an EU process, designed to enable citizens to call for and compel the European Commission to initiate a legislative proposal on issues like the ‘Housing For All’ initiative.
‘Housing For All’ calls for easier access to affordable, public and social housing, releasing public investment in affordable, public and social housing from the Maastricht criteria and improved access to EU funding for public and not-for-profit housing developers.
Speaking at the launch, Fórsa’s campaigns director Joe O’Connor said “the initiative aims to create better legal and financial conditions at an EU level to facilitate member states investing in public, social and affordable housing.”
ECI Citizens' Committee spokesperson Karin Zauner said housing is a human right, not a commodity. “Housing markets throughout the EU need to be regulated as they are in Vienna,” she said.
Rachael Scicluna of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) SOS Malta said the housing discussion needs to be about inclusivity. “We live in a paradox, where people are homeless in thriving economies.”
Enhanced regulation of short-term rentals and statistics on local housing needs in Europe are among the initiatives other demands, to deliver improved access to affordable and social housing throughout the EU.
The ECI process requires one million EU nationals, who must be nationals of a quarter of EU member States, to sign a petition and thereby empower the ECI to lobby the European Commission on that petition.
The Irish campaign behind the Housing For All is being led by Fórsa and the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO). Chair of the trade union backed ‘Raise the Roof’ housing campaign group Sheila Nunan and teacher and INTO activist TJ Clare were among the event's other speakers.