The growing housing emergency, and the need to work out appropriate solutions to address it, was the focus of the Event - “Towards a sustainable and affordable Housing market in Europe: what to learn from the Italian model?” - that took place in Brussels on the 27th of June. The event was hosted at the European Parliament by David-Maria Sassoli - Vice-President of the European Parliament, Patrizia Toia - Vice-Chair of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and Brando Benifei - Member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. On that occasion, Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Housing Sociale presented the Italian experience of Social Housing. A model successfully started in the Lombardy region, then implemented countrywide, that could inspire future EU policies and the development of sustainable solutions to housing needs in Europe.
But how can we meet the growing demand, in the current context of financial markets and diminishing state-sponsored housing funds?
The first Real Estate Ethical Fund conceived by FHS in 2006 was focused on the Lombardy region. It raised initially €85 million from public and private investors and now amounts to over €500 million. The model formed the basis for the Integrated Funds System (SIF), introduced by the national Housing Plan in 2009. The SIF raised a total of €3 billion and currently consists of a national fund of funds - the Fondo Investimenti per l'Abitare (FIA) - managed by CDP Investimenti Sgr. With an AUM of €2 billion, the fund invests in local real estate funds, providing up to 80% of equity with the balance funded by local investors. It is nowadays one of the largest impact investment programmes worldwide.
The results of the Italian experience
As of December 2016, there are 31 approved local funds spread throughout Italy with 9 different fund managers. They potentially allow for the implementation of over 270 projects, this meaning more than 20.000 “social homes” and 8.500 beds in temporary or students’ accommodation, besides local and neighbourhood services.
In addition to the three Members of the European Parliament hosting the event, a distinguished panel of speakers contributed to the discussions: Giuseppe Guzzetti, President of Fondazione Cariplo; Sergio Urbani, Director General of Fondazione Cariplo; Marco Gerevini, Managing Director of Fondazione Housing Sociale; Benjamin Angel, Director Treasury and financial operations, DG ECFIN, European Commission; Niall Bohan, Head of Unit Capital Markets Union, DG Fisma, European Commission; Sorcha Edwards, Secretary General of Housing Europe; Silvia Ganzerla, Policy Director, Eurocities; Flavia Micilotta, Executive Director, Eurosif; Marco Sangiorgio, General Manager, CDP Investimenti Sgr; Romolo Isaia, Head of Unit Public Sector and Regulated Operations, European Investment Bank; Francesco Foti, Direttore Vicario, U.O. Programmazione Politiche abitative, Lombardy Region; Mario Vanni, Chief of Mayor’s Cabinet Municipality of Milan; Fabian Zuleeg, Chief Executive Officer, European Policy Centre. Moderator: Francesco Bicciato, Member of the Board, Eurosif.