Catalan social housing foundation wins World Habitat Awards' gold prize
Hàbitat3 manages 490 social homes lodging over 1,300 people, mainly in Barcelona's metropolitan area
Catalan social housing foundation Hàbitat3 has won the international World Habitat Awards' gold prize, which recognizes and highlights "innovative, outstanding and sometimes revolutionary housing ideas, projects and programs from across the world," according to their website.
Hàbitat3 manages 490 flats across Catalonia, mainly in Barcelona's metropolitan area, and proved homes to 1,341 people with the goal of "looking for and obtaining rents below market prices."
They do this by "rehabilitating and dignifying homes in collaboration with employment integration companies."
One of Hàbitat3's original aims was, and still is, to provide homes for organizations dealing with social issues so that they can carry out their programs for people in at-risk situations.
It is precisely the ties between Hàbitat3 and social organizations that has been awarded the World Habitat Awards' 2019 gold medal for its "innovative experience and future focus."
For the foundation's president, Carme Trilla, "the prize takes into account the difficulties faced in a country like ours when fighting for social housing."
Housing was perceived as Barcelona's main problem in a city poll last year, where rents have risen close to 30% between 2004 and 2018, forcing some to spend half of their salaries on rent.
How Hàbitat3 is funded
Hàbitat3 is funded by both private and public institutions. The Catalan government funds it through its Inclusive Homes Network program and some city councils, such as Barcelona's, also support it.
But some private entities, such as the Agbar foundation or Cellnex, also help to finance the project.
Obtaining affordable homes
Hàbitat3 has different ways of obtaining the homes it manages, such as through direct transfers from the Catalan government – typically of public housing or after acquiring non-inherited homes–, private transfers of ownership or buying them with favorable credit conditions from entities such as Caixabank or Catalonia's public financial institution, ICF.
Public and private institutions also fund Hàbitat3 in order to refurbish the homes while the prize-awarded foundation must ensure that the flats are used well.
World Habitat Awards
The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985, with the United Nations Habitat Agency among one of the organizing institutions.
It is the first time in the awards' 34-year history that a southern European project is recognized.