Towards a cost-effective housing policy for Flanders and Europe

Hier vindt u meer informatie over de uitvoering van het Europese project 'Towards a cost-effective housing policy for Flanders and Europe'.

This webpage contains information about the implementation of the action 'Towards a cost-effective housing policy for Flanders and Europe'.

Call, proposal & grant agreement 

In 2013 the European Commission launched the call for proposals VP/2013/013 - 'Support for the design of reform strategies for more cost-effective social protection systems'. This call was part of the PROGRESS-program, which supports the development and coordination of the EU policy within the area of employment, social inclusion and social protection, etc. PROGRESS financially supports activities with a strong Europe-wide dimension and of an appropriate scale to ensure EU added value.

In response to the call, a proposal titled 'Towards a cost-effective housing policy for Flanders and Europe' has been submitted by a consortium of following partners:

  • Agentschap Wonen-Vlaanderen
  • TU Delft
  • KU Leuven
  • CECODHAS - Housing Europe
  • Vlaamse Woonraad

The action was defined as a close cooperation between the Flemish government, academics and stakeholders, each having their own responsibilities concerning the preparation of housing policy. 

The proposal has been approved by the European Commission and a grant agreement has been concluded on the 26th of August 2014.

Short summary of the action

The proposed action consist of two main parts. The first part entails the development of a theoretical framework for the comparison of a range of policy instruments addressing housing needs in order to be able to choose the most cost-effective one under different (national) circumstances. The development of this concept is in first instance based on theoretical and empirical literature. The second part involves the repeated testing of the concept with policy makers and stakeholders which will lead to adjustments of the concept in order to fine-tune it to respond to the specific experiences of a broad range of stakeholders.

The main question to be addressed is which policy instruments respond most effectively to housing needs in Flanders and elsewhere in Europe, especially those households at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Alternatives to be considered are cash and in kind benefits. Related questions are whether subsidies should be targeted towards a small or a broad group of recipients, and towards the demand or the supply-side of the housing market. Another fundamental question is how tasks have to be divided between market and non-market organizations.

Economic theory provides the basis for the development of the conceptual framework. Since the late 1990s, a lot of research has been done on the conditions and effects of different housing policy measures in different EU countries. Some comparative studies bring the results of European Member States together. For instance Stephens et al.(2010) search for relations between welfare regimes, housing systems and housing outcomes. However, these studies do not address cost-effectiveness in particular and may not have allowed for the results to be appraised by the stakeholders. It are exactly those elements that we want to incorporate.

Workplan & timing

The action took place from September 2014 until August 2016.

During the first three months, the researchers started gathering and studying data and relevant literature. The steering committee was established and the Flemish administration set up the website and SharePoint. A first kick-off meeting with the consortium partners and the EC project manager was organized in September 2014. All partners of the consortium informed their members concerning the action and distributed the information via their own websites and newsletters.

A second kick-off meeting with the consortium partners and the stakeholder platform was organized in the third month of the project (autumn 2014).

By the end of the first half year (February-March 2015), academic papers were written and CECODHAS and FEANTSA gave their feedback. The researchers integrated the comments and recommendations in their work. The papers were presented at ENHR 2015 (beginning of July 2015).

The Flemish stakeholder discussion started at the beginning of spring 2015. The action was presented at a plenary session of the Flemish Housing Council (late March 2015) and shortly after that a working group of the Flemish Housing Council was established.

An academic workshop was organized in May 2015. For this workshop six international experts on welfare economics and/or housing were invited in Leuven to discuss the draft framework for evaluation of alternative housing policy instruments. By the end of May 2015 an interim report was available.

The international stakeholder platform met in July-August 2015. The main purpose of this meeting was to discuss the interim report and make recommendations for the program and participants of the international conference.

The beginning of the second year of the project (period from September to December of 2015) was used for further development of the framework for evaluation of alternative housing policy instruments and for the organization of the international conference. All partners of the consortium used their networks to mobilize a large group of potential participants. Members of the stakeholder platform were asked to do the same.

The international conference took place in June 2016 in Brussels and lasted two days. The first day was targeted towards an international public of academics and stakeholders. Translations were provided for English, French and German. The second day was targeted towards mainly a Flemish public and the language was Dutch, except for the international speakers. On the program of both days were presentations by the researchers and reactions by the stakeholders. Policy makers were asked to respond to the proposals and viewpoints.

During the rest of the project all the material gathered during the conferences and workshops was processed, resulting in the last months in submission of articles for international peer reviewed housing journals and in a final report with contributions from all consortium partners.

Publication of the final report on the action website was planned by the end of August 2016. All consortium partners informed their members concerning the outcomes of the action and distributed the report via their own websites and newsletters. From then on, the results were available for all potential users.

The description of the action, with more details on the implementation and the workplan, can be found here: PDF icon Cost effective housing policy_description of the action


The 2 day conference took place on 20-21 June 2016.

As mentioned above, the first day was targeted towards an international audience of academics and stakeholders, while the second day was mainly targeted towards a Flemish public. The first day was held at the Committee of the Regions, the second at the Flemish Parliament, both in Brussels.  


The presentations and the conference paper can be found in the download-section below.

Outputs & results

The final report  'An evaluation framework for moving towards more cost-effective housing policies'  can be found here:
English version:  PDF icon Final report - Towards more cost-effective housing policies
Dutch version:  PDF icon Eindrapport - Afwegingskader kosteneffectief woonbeleid

A selection of outputs can be found here below:

- Academic workshop (11-12 May 2015)
PDF icon programme_academic workshop 2015

- ENHR 2015 (28 June - 1 July 2015)
PDF icon paper_ENHR 2015

- Stakeholder workshops (24 February  &  3 March 2016)
Bestand presentation HIVA-KULeuven
Bestand presentation Housing Europe

- 2 Day conference (20-21 June 2016)
conference paper:
PDF icon cost-effective housing policy conferencepaper
presentations (20/6):
Bestand 01 presentation KULeuven-HIVA
Bestand 03 presentation Christine Whitehead
presentations (21/6)
Bestand 01 presentation Vlaamse Woonraad
Bestand 02 presentation Wonen-Vlaanderen
Bestand 03 presentation KU Leuven-HIVA
Bestand 04 presentation Vlaamse Woonraad
Bestand 05 presentation TU Delft
PDF icon 06 presentation OECD


This project has received funding from the European Union under the Progress/EaSI programme.

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The information is the sole responsibility of the author, and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. The information contained in this website does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.


Team Strategie en Onderzoek
Herman Teirlinckgebouw
Havenlaan 88 bus 40D
1000 Brussel