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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Affordable housing initiative

The affordable housing initiative is part of the Commission's renovation wave strategy for Europe, which aims to green buildings, create jobs and improve lives. This strategy intends to at least double renovation rates in the EU by breaking down long-standing barriers to energy and resource-efficient renovation as well as improving reuse and recycling. By 2030, the construction sector could see 35 million renovated buildings and up to 160,000 additional green jobs.

The affordable housing initiative 

The renovation wave will support new investments over a sustained period, starting with public and less efficient buildings. These will spur digitalisation and creating employment and growth opportunities across the renovation supply chain.  

As part of this strategy, the affordable housing initiative works to make sure social and affordable housing facilities also benefit from the renovation wave. It will guarantee local social housing projects’ access to necessary technical and innovation capacity and project support by

  • piloting 100 lighthouse renovation districts with a smart neighbourhood approach focused on liveability and innovation, also providing blueprints for replication
  • mobilising cross-sectoral project partnerships and linking them to local actors, such as social economy, SMEs, local authorities, housing associations and civil society 
  • promoting efficient access and use of innovative processes such as circular and modular building as well as social innovation and engagement models to empower residents in the renovation process

Related policies

The affordable housing initiative is in line with the European Pillar of Social Rights under principle 19 ‘housing and assistance for the homeless’, as well as in the cohesion policy 2021-2027 objectives, including

  • objective1 on a smarter Europe, through innovation, digitisation and support for small and medium-sized enterprises
  • objective 2 on a greener, carbon-free Europe, covering energy transition, renewables and the fight against climate change
  • objective 4 on a more social Europe, through quality employment, education, skills and social inclusion
  • objective 5 on a Europe closer to citizens, by supporting locally-led development strategies and sustainable urban development across the EU

The affordable housing initiative further aligns with the cohesion policy as it supports locally-led development strategies and empowers local authorities in managing funds. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) allocates 8% to strengthening sustainable urban development, supporting the cohesion policy's urban dimension. 
As part of this, the new European urban initiative will support innovative actions, capacity and knowledge building, policy development and communication on sustainable urban development.

From 2015 to 2018, the housing partnership of the urban agenda analysed challenges faced by EU countries, regions, cities, and social and European affordable housing providers. The affordable housing initiative addresses their outcomes and conclusions included in their action plan.

The affordable housing initiative is in line with several other EU-level actions and initiatives, including 

Finally, we built the affordable housing initiative in synergy with the new European Bauhaus. The core values of the new European Bauhaus are sustainability, aesthetics and inclusiveness. We aim to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability and investment to help deliver the European Green Deal. 

Calls delivering on the Affordable housing initiative

Currently open calls

Horizon Europeframework programme (HORIZON)

Affordable housing district demonstrator (IA) – open for applications: until 20 April 2023

Ongoing projects and outcomes from previous calls