Managing Social Rental Housing in the EU: A Comparative Study
Since the 1980s, as part of the gradual transformation of the welfare state in large parts of Europe, many countries have witnessed a decline in the provision of social housing. Overall, there has been a trend towards housing becoming more market oriented, competitive and opened up to economic pressures. Supply subsidies to social housing have been replaced or complemented in a number of countries by demand-side subsidies through housing benefits and vouchers. In this context, social housing organisations across the European Union (EU) are facing a paradoxical challenge: while they are expected to fulfil a 'social mission' (i.e. provide access to decent housing to people who cannot afford it in the market), the steep reduction in subsidies and in public investment in housing are putting increasing pressure on these organisations to become more 'market-oriented' or 'business-like' as a way to become self-financing. This paper aims to shed light on these developments on the basis of the findings of a comparative study on the management of social rental housing organisations across the European Union. The study looks at how 'social' and 'commercial' objectives are reflected in strategy formulation, the key challenges faced by organisations, and the specific responses and innovative management approaches being put in place to deal with these challenges. In this paper we present and discuss findings from the study. In the relative absence of theory in this field, the analysis of findings uses a set of management concepts specifically crafted for the study of management models of social rental housing in Europe. The study is the first ever comparative European research of the management systems, values, visions and strategies of organisations that own and manage properties in the social rental sector.
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Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
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