Housing Assembly


Friday 7t – 1.30pm
– 4.30pm

Proposition towards the
Housing Assembly, on the basis of the
Letter to European social housing
movements and organizations


Late April, some activists
from tenant organizations, local urban movements, militant research and
international housing rights networks met in Essen and Wuppertal (Germany) for
internal and public meetings. There we discussed reasons and possible tasks of
international solidarity cooperation in the field of housing and cities under
the conditions of financialisation and crisis, austerity regimes and urban
transformation. Coming from Barcelona, Berlin, Hamburg, Istanbul, London,
Madrid, Padova, Paris, Pescara, the Ruhr-District, Rotterdam, Santiago, Vienna
we used this occasion to exchange local experiences, map common questions and brainstorm
some ideas for coordinated activities in future.

It was a main success of the
meetings that activists from different cities and countries, generations,
professions and political movements started to get into intensive communication
within an open atmosphere. We started some rich debates on the necessary
activist analysis of real estate in modern capitalism and crisis, about
political orientations and instruments for the defense and the realization of
the right to housing in the countries and at European levels, about the
questions of organizing across the fragmentations at local and transnational
levels, and about the need for international solidarity with concrete actions.



People in Spain, Italy,
Ireland, Portugal and Greece are extremely threatened by the austerity
mechanisms for the Euro-Zone, which had been decided in a non-democratic way by
the so called TROIKA (IMF, ECB, EC ) and which had been pushed by some of the
“strong” governments in the EU (not least Germany). These measures –
mostly fixed in socalled “memorandums of understanding” – include
demands to the national governments, which directly (through real-estate
specific conditions) or indirectly (through general financial measures and
budget cuts) deeply affect the housing situation in these countries.

Since these indebted
countries (more or less) have lost their sovereignty to decide about their budget
and, thus, their housing policies, the power of local and national movements to
enforce satisfying housing policies is rather limited. International solidarity
is needed in order to force the Troika to allow and support social housing
solutions in the affected countries. Especially in Spain and Portugal the
housing and mortgage systems have totally crashed, foreclosures led to mass

Under these conditions it
should be discussed, how to address our urgent demands directly to the
responsible institutions (IMF, ECB, EC ) and the countries which are backing
them. The evictions for “financial reasons” could be stopped by
supporting the transformation of housing 
assets of bankrupt landlords
and banks into democratically managed social rental housing and by calling for
a stronger security of tenure in the affected countries. According to this
demand the conditions in the “rescue” packages (memorandums of
understanding) should be changed.

Instead of transforming the
bankrupt assets into sovereign debt, this process will free up real resources
for social housing policies.

If we want to elaborate this
idea, we first of all need a good understanding of the “European” responsibilities
for the housing disaster in the affected countries, which means a good analysis
on the factors within the Euro-austerity-measures, which lead to evictions and
of possible solutions / changes at this level. The resulting demands and
arguments should be put into a common paper, petition or letter of demands,
addressed to the responsible institutions.

directed to European Commision and European Parliament

• Save people’s homes, not
banks! Exclude national budget expenditure on housing policies from the
“fiscal compact”!

• In order to stop evictions,
introduce binding European standards of security of tenure!

• Stop homelessness and
housing shortage through European standards and programs for the access to
decent housing at affordable rents for all!

• Develop and implement
European programs for the financial support of decentralized social housing
solutions, which are decent, inclusive, affordable, democratic and ecologically
sound! The programs must meet real needs.

• Allow national and
sub-national rent control!

• Cancel sovereign debt in
order to get ressources for social housing support!

For sure, these and other
demands have to be discussed and elaborated.


1. Asset Users Unite: We
could agree on one day later this year when we organize parallel decentralized
actions in front of EC, IMF, ECB, EP, strong governments, big banks and
financial landlords for our common demands towards an immediate stop to forced
evictions, European standards for secure tenure and towards a transformation of
housing assets of bankrupt landlords and banks into social rental housing .

2. “Take back land
and houses” day:
At some other day people could organize
parallel (real and/or “symbolic”) squatting of vacant dwellings as
well as of crisis-affected vacant social/cultural infrastructure and vacant
land. Such direct action could express a Europeanwide reclaim of all the land,
buildings and spaces which have been transformed into financial assets. It was
discussed that these action days could take place in October and be integrated
in global campaigns.

3. Anti MIPIM action,
march 2014, Cannes


• Central protests against
the party of all those real estate criminals in Cannes (supported by a
trans-local communication and publicity network)

• Exhibitions on the
consequences of bad real estate practices (in/near Cannes + virtual + later travel)

• “Tribunal”
against real estate violence (in/near Cannes, virtually connected)




First signatories : Knut Unger,
Wuppertal, Witten Tenants Association/Habitat Net, Annie Pourre, Paris, No
Vox-DAL, Charlotte Mathivet, Paris, AITEC-HIC, Pascale Thys, Belgium, Habitat
& Participation, Grischa Dallmer, Berliner MieterGemeinschaft, Sylvia
Brennemann, Duisburg, Bürgerinitiative Zinkhüttenplatz, Agnes Verweij,
Rotterdam, Ana

Méndez de Andés, Madrid,
Observatorio Metropolitano, Michael Edwards, London, Anna, Berliner
MieterGemeinschaft, Claudio Pulgar Pinaud, Observatory of Reconstruction,
Chile/EHESS Paris, Cesare Ottolini, IAI

* To
download the manifesto, click here.

* To
download the program, click here.

* To download this Housing Assembly proposal, click here.