Union Sociale pour l’Habitat, Banque des Territoires, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) have formed a partnership to facilitate social housing associations’ access to European funding for long-term investments in public social infrastructure.

Under this alliance, a first wave of €650 million in EIB and CEB financing will be made available to social housing associations through Banque des Territoires to supplement its regulated loans.

  • The €500 million EIB loan aims to accelerate the construction of social housing amid a challenging economic environment by enabling Banque des Territoires to expand its offering of fixed-rate “Booster” loans to include maturities of 35 and 40 years. 
  • The €150 million CEB loan, a renewal of an existing contract that brings its total commitment to €300 million, aims to strengthen Banque des Territoires’ offering of supplementary loans to finance decent housing, in particular for vulnerable people, assisted living accommodation and social and healthcare facilities.

This European alliance was made official on 15 September at a social housing event entitled “Les Hlm, acteurs de la relance” organised by Union Sociale pour l’Habitat at the Grande Arche in Paris. It is part of the Investment Pact signed on 25 April 2019 by the government and social housing operators.

This alliance affirms Banque des Territoires’ role in mobilising European resources from the CEB and the EIB for investment in social housing in France, on the basis of bilateral financing agreements entered into by these various long-term lenders.

The aim of this intermediation mechanism is to ensure that French social housing operators have straightforward, fair and consistent access to European funding that is open to all social infrastructure investment projects regardless of their size or location.

The agreement on the operational implementation of this European alliance also includes a communication campaign specifically designed to inform beneficiary households and local stakeholders about the European Union’s and the Council of Europe’s commitment to sustainable and inclusive social housing in their local area.

The combination of EIB and CEB financing will greatly contribute to the fight against climate change and to the social inclusion of vulnerable people, in line with the Council of Europe’s revised European Social Charter and the European Union’s European Pillar of Social Rights.

The implementation of this European Pillar and principle 19access to social housing – as well as the Green Deal’s Renovation Wave Strategy to enhance the energy efficiency of buildings and its Affordable Housing Initiative to renovate 100 social housing districts in the European Union represent two major social housing initiatives launched by the von der Leyen Commission in its 2021 work programme.

Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe, said: “The European Alliance for Sustainable and Inclusive Social Housing is an excellent example of how the Council of Europe Development Bank – by joining forces with other institutions – is pursuing the objective of social progress outlined in the Statute of the Council of Europe and seeking to uphold the aims of international human rights law.”

According to Emmanuelle Cosse, President of Union Sociale pour l’Habitat, “This European Alliance for Sustainable and Inclusive Social Housing that was forged under the Investment Pact will help us to tackle this new challenge facing affordable housing post-COVID, in France and across Europe. The European Union and the Council of Europe are working alongside us to help accomplish our mission to serve the public interest as we undergo major changes, and to facilitate social housing associations’ access to long-term European funding.”

Loan Manager at Banque des Territoires Marianne Laurent said: “Banque des Territoires, the leading lender for social housing in France, has been working with the European Investment Bank and the Council of Europe Development Bank for several years now. This partnership demonstrates its desire to provide, on top of its own resources, straightforward and fair access to European funding that is open to all in order to help the sector meet its ambitious targets to revive the construction and energy renovation industries.”

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: “As the EU climate bank, the EIB has been supporting Banque des Territoires for a number of years as part of its mission to finance social housing operators, in particular to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. This partnership signals the willingness of our four institutions to pool their expertise in order to maximise the impact we can have on the supply of affordable and sustainable housing.” 

Vice-Governor of the CEB Tomáš Boček said: “This alliance highlights the complementarity of our four institutions and their commitment to sustaining a supply of decent housing, especially for the most vulnerable. For 65 years, the CEB – the social development bank for Europe – has been sharing its expertise to strengthen social cohesion alongside its many partners, in particular the Caisse des Dépôts Group and Banque des Territoires.”

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About Union Sociale pour l’Habitat

Union Sociale pour l’Habitat represents some 630 social housing operators in metropolitan France and the overseas territories through its five associations (Fédération nationale des Offices Publics de l’Habitat, Entreprises sociales pour l’habitat, Fédération nationale des Sociétés coopératives d’Hlm (Coop’Hlm), PROCIVIS UES-AP and Fédération nationale des Associations régionales d’organismes d’habitat social). It has three missions: (i) to act as a national representative in dealings with the authorities, the media, professional bodies and the general public; (ii) to review, analyse and study all matters related to housing and draft social housing policy proposals; and (iii) to provide information, advice and assistance to social housing associations to facilitate, streamline and develop their operations and business skills. In 2019, social housing associations started building 73 000 new housing and sheltered housing units, acquired and renovated 6 000 units, and acquired 5 500 move-in ready units. They own and manage 4.7 million rental homes and 0.3 million sheltered housing units, accommodating approximately 10 million people. Social housing operators are also major promoters of home ownership, having sold 14 600 units to homebuyers in clustered and scattered lots. They are run by 12 000 board volunteers and a staff of 82 000.

About Banque des Territoires

Set up in 2018, Banque des Territoires is one of the five arms of Caisse des Dépôts. It brings in-house regional expertise together within a single structure. It is a single point of entry for clients, providing made-to-measure advice and financing solutions for loans and investments to meet the needs of local authorities, social housing associations, local public enterprises and legal professionals. It is aimed at all French regions, from rural areas to large cities, with the objective of eliminating social and regional inequalities. Banque des Territoires is represented by 16 regional offices and 35 local branches of Caisse des Dépôts to enhance visibility and proximity to its client base.

About the Council of Europe Development Bank

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) is a multilateral financial institution with a social mandate. Founded by eight member states of the Council of Europe in 1956 in order to bring solutions to the problems of refugees, it is the oldest multilateral development institution in Europe. The CEB invests in social projects that foster inclusive growth and help support the most vulnerable populations across its 42 European member states, while promoting environmental sustainability.