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December 2009 Housing on Center Stage. Mr. David Lippeatt From

December 2009 Housing on Center Stage. Mr. David Lippeatt From

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Published by: api-16186170 on Dec 07, 2009
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Both President Obama and former British PMMargaret Thatcher were given attention to on theInternational Tenants Day. Mrs. Barbro Engman,President of the Swedish Union of Tenants gave anenriching and informative speech about the right tobuy versus the right to rent policy. Mrs. Engmanexpressed her sincere wish that President Obama´sright to rent policy will spread to Europe and to
herhome country Sweden. The Swedish government hasset focus on owner oriented policies leaving people inthe hands of the financial market and interest
speculators. “
Bear in mind that it is in difficultfinancial downturns that you as a tenant are standing
firm and safe” Mrs. Engman refreshingly stated.
Strong housing policies is a powerful force totackle the ongoing financial crisis
Future European housing policies andsocial housing issues were thoroughlydiscussed on the IUT conference on howto tackle the financial crisis. Investments,loans and President Obama´s housingplan may lead to recovery in the socialhousing sector.
In connection with the
annually held InternationalTenants Day and the World Habitat Day, IUT took the opportunity to gather speakers from a variety of organisations and institutions to highlight both thefuture policies of European housing and the concernsof social housing in European countries.
The main topic of 
the conference
was “tackling the
financial crisis with a new deal for affordable
housing” which
certainly is in line with the severefinancial crisis the world economy is currentlysuffering from together with
important housingissues that have to be tackled as a result of it.-Member states should invest in housing renovationand reconstruction now, stated Mr. Sven Carlsson,President of the IUT. Mr. Mario Aymerich,representative of the European Investment Bank (EIB) elaborated on the EIB´s activities in socialhousing. The bank offers a number of financialinstruments such as loans for street renewal and hasrecently financed refurbishment of social housingblocks in Lithuania. The financial crisis has paid itstribute to all of the member states. Mr. Conny Reuter,Secretary General of Solidar, International WorkersAid, emphasised that social housing is part of generalsocial policy and therefore tenants and labour unionsshould work together in order to face the financialcrisis.
Sound investments are crucial
for the decreasingsocial housing sector in Europe. The general trend inmany European countries is that home ownershipoutnumbers the social sector by far. In Italy andSlovakia the social housing sector is more or lessnonexistent, amounting to about 5 % of the totalhousing stock. The Netherlands is a striking exampleof successful social housing policies where about 40% of the total housing stock is social housing.
Mr. David Lippeatt,
Chief of the Economic policyunit at the US Mission to the EU,
spoke about theObama administration´s housing plan which isemphasizing more future support to tenants. Theadministration has designated $4.25 billion of thestimulus package to directly support the creation of tens of thousands of federal subsidized rental units inAmerican cities.
Visit www.iut.nu for additional information on the IUT conference.
Mr. David Lippeattfrom the US Missionto the EU presentedthe Obamaadministration´s newplan on housing.To the right: Mr.Richard Hewgill,member of the IUTboard.
Photo: B. Steenbergen

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