A project that develops and provides permanently affordable housing for people on low incomes in Brussels and a housing rights project in Beirut that provides an online reporting tool to monitor and respond to housing injustices, including evictions, are the two Gold Winners of this year’s World Habitat Awards, announced today.
The Awards are organised by World Habitat in partnership with UN-Habitat.
The first Gold winner is the project Introducing Community Land Trusts in Continental Europe. Rising house prices and a lack of social homes has created an affordable housing crisis in Brussels, that leaves people on the lowest incomes with little choice but to rent low-quality accommodation or leave the city. The project is run by Community Land Trust Brussels (CLTB) which has successfully advocated for the use of the Community Land Trust model in Belgium to address this growing problem. The homes are bought by people on low incomes, most of whom (over 80 per cent) have a migrant background.
Residents play a central role in both the governance of the organisation and in the design and management of the housing projects. Homes are sold at 30-50 per cent below market equivalents with the cost of the home subsidised according to the household’s ability to pay. Residents and non-residents also have the opportunity to participate in a cohesive and caring community. CLTB has completed five projects, housing 450 people in 103 homes. Four more projects are in preparation and the organisation is strongly committed to expanding the Community Land Trust model throughout Europe and beyond.
The second Gold winner, Housing Monitor, is a housing rights project in Beirut run by Public Works Studio. It provides a safe and secure database for people to report housing violations and injustices. Public Works Studio responds to individuals’ housing needs with access to legal and social services, building awareness among vulnerable groups, including low-income Lebanese, refugees and migrant domestic workers, who have limited legal representation and/or knowledge of their rights.
The project has received 603 reports of housing injustices since January 2020, of which 472 cases were responded to with targeted interventions. So far, it has prevented the eviction of 92 households and negotiated better housing security for hundreds of people. Housing Monitor mobilises local advocacy efforts to demand housing policy reform. As the first project of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, Housing Monitor is giving vulnerable communities a voice to demand their basic housing rights and campaign for a more equitable society.