How to help people excluded from decent housing – The COOP project
The COOP project, funded by the EU, focused on integrated forms of co-operation between local authorities, housing providers and social careproviders in preventing and addressing homelessness or housing loss.
The securing of decent and affordable housing plays an important role in the fight against poverty and social exclusion. However, growing numbers of people experience difficulty in accessing good quality accommodation. In many EU cities, people continue to live in poor housing while others experience housing loss and homelessness. Conventional forms of housing do not always sufficiently address the needs of risk groups who require assistance in accessing and maintaining decent and appropriate accommodation.
The COOP project aims to explore the added value of cooperating, as opposed to working separately, through the study of seventeen good practice cases in nine European cities (Vienna, Brno, Poznan and Krakow, Rotterdam, Duisburg and Hanover, Leeds and Brussels).
These cases represent a broad range of activities in the field
of meeting the housing needs of vulnerable groups. According to
their main aim these activities can be grouped into four
- prevention of housing loss
- provision of permanent housing
- expansion of the accessible housing stock for vulnerable groups
- social re-integration into mainstream society
- In the COOP project seven national teams from old and new
European Member States (Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic,
Germany, the Netherlands, Polandand the UK) formed a consortium to:
- exchange information;
- learn about strengths and weaknesses of each others’ partnerships;
- discuss the transferability of approaches.
- Each team consisted of one coordinating institute and partners from the fields of local authorities, housing, social services and homelessness organisations.
- The method of the exchange was based on a continuous process of input and feedback. Using key criteria of good practice, the national teams selected and assessed good practice cases in their cities. They presented their findings to the international consortium.
- The coordinating institutes worked out the good practice criteria, supervised the selection and analysis of good practice examples using scientific methods, processed the findings and provided the documentation.
- The COOP triangle of housing providers, social service providers and local authorities was seen to be effective in delivering services which prevent housing loss and provide housing and support for vulnerable groups.
- European policy should continue to stress the importance of adequate and appropriate housing as key in reducing social exclusion. However it should also promote a more holistic approach recognising the roles of a wide range of services which contribute to social inclusion.
- National, regional and local governments should encourage the development of cooperation forms including a broad range of actors. It is recommended that local authorities take over the lead in developing and coordinating partnerships. They should consider piloting cooperation forms and robustly evaluating their efficiency and effectiveness.
- In most countries there is still much work to be done in terms of customer involvement. Policy makers should require cooperations and services to develop strategies to involve customers.
The COOP project was supported by the European Commission within the framework of the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) to combat poverty and socialexclusion in the Member States. The OMC consists of five main elements of which one is the establishment of a Community Action Programme (2002-2006).
In this framework the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs of the European Commission launched a Transnational Exchange Programme. Its objective is to promote mutual learning between the 25 EU Member States ,candidate countries and EFTA / EEA countries.
COOP was one of the projects supported within this programme. Over a period of three years the European Commission financed nine meetings to build the network and to promote the process of mutual learning.
SRZ Stadt + Regionalforschung GmbH (SRZ urban and regional
Rated 0 time(s)