making the private rental sector responsible some lessons from ghent b n.
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Making the Private Rental Sector Responsible - Some Lessons from Ghent (B)

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  1. Insert your logo here Making the Private Rental Sector Responsible - Some Lessons from Ghent (B) Maarten Davelaar, Verwey-Jonker Institute (NL)

  2. Content • Homelessness & housing • Some characteristics on homelessness & housing in Flanders & Ghent • Making the private sector responsible: instruments • Challenges & Strengths (= potential for transferability)

  3. Homelessness & housing Need for: • Prevention of house evictions • Improving access to regular housing: • developing Housing First (semi-independent living) • bringing down barriers to social housing • affordable housing in the private sector

  4. Context Belgium / Flanders • Home ownership central • Large, fragmented private rental sector • Small social housing sector (7% of total) • Complex, mixed governance system: • local and regional political priorities • local and regional financing of local services • services on the ground delivered by both public and NGO services • imperfect decentralisation: limited local public steering capacity

  5. Ghent: figures (2009-2010) • 114,795 households • 33,500 low income hh • 14,900 renting hh live in low quality housing • 7,900 renting hh: difficulties paying the rent • 398 procedures for house evictions started, 125 evict. (other estim. 300-400)

  6. Homelessness policies: partners • City of Ghent: Unit for Local Social Policy • Public Centre for Social Welfare – OCMW • Centres for General Welfare – CAW (NGOs) • Other NGOs: Huize Triest, Street corner work, Woonfonds • Social Housing Associations

  7. Instruments private sector (1) • System of Social Rental Agencies: OCMW and ‘Woonfonds’-NGO (300 units) • Floating services / supported housing also available to people in regular housing • Agreement on prevention of evictions in the private rental sector

  8. Instruments (2) • Prevention of evictions in the private rental sector (by CAWs): • Building on experiences in social housing sector • To address problematic situations in private rental market • Tenants and landlords can report problems • 94 trajectories in 2010

  9. Strengths • Local cooperation despite complex political-administrative context • Various instruments to address problems in the private rental sector • Clear commitment: reaching out to clients in regular housing

  10. Challenges (1) • Attractiveness of Ghent as a ‘hub’ for ‘starters’: students, (EU-)migrants, people leaving institutions • Shortage of decent affordable housing: housing policies for low income groups?

  11. Challenges (2) • Existing regulations not always enforced • Quality & safety standards • Unoccupied property • Vacant space over shops • Need to invest further in prevention and (quick) re-housing while…the pressure on basic services is mounting

  12. To sum up • Complex context, but fruitful local cooperation • Innovations: • social rental agencies • floating services for people in regular housing • protocols on prevention of evictions in social and private sector • Pressure on affordable housing continues

  13. More information • MDavelaar@verwey-jonker.nl • www.habitact.eu