Redesigning Social Housing against Poverty in Europe

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Redesigning Social Housing against Poverty in Europe (RESHAPE) is an international cooperative research project funded by the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano.

This interdisciplinary and comparative project aims at building new knowledge in the domain of social housing, as an important policy instrument to combat poverty in Europe.

Housing costs are a specific and important factor in the risk of poverty - after income itself - as they typically represent the major outlay in the household budget. Social housing - in its different forms - has represented the way European welfare states have dealt with this problem after World War II.

Changes in housing policy, since the 1970s, have moved the European housing systems towards more market-driven forms of housing provision. Since 2008, the global crisis is seriously affecting Europe, worsening household economic conditions and reducing public budgets, due to austerity measures. Overall, there is more need for social housing in time when there are fewer resources for it. This happens in Southern Europe and in Ireland, especially, where social housing is less developed. In such a context, the project will basically address the following research questions: Which type of social housing can be developed in Europe? How to finance social housing in a feasible and sustainable way? Which strategies can be adopted and which policy instruments implemented, when facing a structural crisis?

The project is developing existing comparative research in the following directions: (a) a focus on Southern Europe; (b) an update of previous research in order to take into account changes since the global crisis; (c) a focus on the micro-level of social housing: models and policy instruments design, their strategic management; (d) its financing.