You are, have been, a member or a friend of Habitat International Coalition in Europe or you have recently showed interest in HIC. Today, we are writing you to inform you of the direction the Coalition in Europe is planning to take as well as to encourage you to renew your membership and take part in these activities.
We are developing our action in three main areas:
1) Housing and Environment, with HSEN (Housing and Sustainable Environment Network)
2) North/south relations in the domain of habitat
3) Social Production of Housing (SPH) and housing co-operatives.
1) Housing and Environment
The HIC-HSEN network has been active in French speaking Africa on environmental questions. Enda-Tiers Monde has recently organised an international meeting on Local initiatives for reducing the risk of catastrophes in Central and West Africa. Among other risks ENDA was concerned with the spread of disease caused by the lack of hygiene due to floods as well as the lack of decent housing. Their texts, describing the different initiatives to reduce the risks and to deal with catastrophes , are online.
As we are aware of the importance of developing global action concerning climate change in general and more specifically developing action in the area of housing, building materials and energy consumption -we are developing a blog in which to exchange actions, methods and ideas on how we, individually or in groups, can raise awareness and take action. Our idea is to create an international blog with HSEN and, following the needs, other blogs by region or by theme.
2) North/South relations in the domain of habitat
Many of our members and friends in Europe work in the South on questions related to Habitat. They are very often experts in this field in their region and could be of enormous use to northern NGOs that seek to collaborate in the South by helping them navigate in the local situation (understanding the local laws, regulations and unspoken rules, and by making connections with local leaders), by evaluating local demands for aid, by indicating experienced persons able to carry out projects. In the same way organisation and groups located in the North and working in the South could benefit by communicating among themselves on questions related to this work. A listserve can be set up to facilitate these exchanges.
3) The Social Production of Housing (SPH)
SPH is one of the areas in which HIC has been working for many years. In Europe, the SPH takes on many different forms but these actions have often not been included in HICs work on SPH. In Belgium, the group Habitat et Participation is recognised as a pole of resources for collective housing (Habitat Group) by the Walloon region and has recently developed a blog for people active or interested in collective housing. In Paris, a small group has created a Maison Relais: a kind of social boarding for the homeless or handicapped or those who, for many reasons, prefer or need this type of housing. Another example of Social Production of Housing is, for instance, the Community Self Build Agency in Great Britain whose aim is to enable low income men and women to develop their potential through the variety of skills and knowledge they gain, whist building their homes with other local people. Recently (June 08), in Lyon, France, the ENTPE (College of Public Works) had a meeting where different types of co-operative housing were presented. The wide variety of types of co-operative housing presented there to a full house suggests that this third type of housing has a future.
There are other fields in which HIC members in Europe are active: for instance the Right to Housing. In France, a successful movement for the opposable right to housing has now become a law. However much vigilance and an enormous effort of the militants are needed to oblige the authorities to follow up.
Formerly, a working group created a listserve on globalisation and its impact on the housing market and, at present, another one called Reclaiming Spaces is covering a broader range: it is proposed as a productive new tool for international communication among activists and other people interested in urban, housing and land right struggles.
Katharine Coit- HIC Board member: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pascale Thys -Habitat & Participation: hep@tvcablenet@be
Benefits of joining HIC displayed on the HIC website:
Be part of a growing global movement / coalition fighting for the Right to Adequate Housing, Land and Habitat for all.
Highlight your organization globallymake your group’s voice heard!
Be part of the HIC approach act locally, think globally
Bring and share your experience, knowledge and capacities
Get information on the fight for housing and land rights in your country, in your region and across the planet
Join HIC’s globally recognized networks on Housing and Land Rights and Women and Shelter; also working groups on Privatization and Globalization of Habitat, Social Production of Habitat, Global Charter for the Rights to the City
Form or join regional and local campaigns, such as International Housing Rights Days of Action
Access United Nations and other inter-governmental agencies dealing with housing, land and habitat rights
Represent your group’s agenda at global and regional events such as the World Social Forum and the World Urban Forum
Access products and services of HIC’s structures, i.e. Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), including training support, publications, and HIC-HLRN’s Urgent Action Appeal system
Link your organization’s website to HIC
Use HIC logo for your activities
Organizational member representatives can vote and run for the HIC Board and set global policy for HIC in General Assembly meetings; HIC Friends, or individual members can participate but not vote in HIC meetings.
Access HIC’s Membership database and meeting minutes of General Assembly meeting.
Publish your articles, call to actions, materials and invitations worldwide through the HIC News mailing list and HIC Website