Inclusive Cities for All

Pledge 15 – Ghent

  • City: Ghent
  • Name: Mathias De Clerq
  • Position: Mayor of Ghent
  • Intro: Ghent will invest €90 million increase the stock and quality of social housing and low-budget private rental homes
  • Country: Belgium

Ghent has signed three pledges to the European Pillar of Social Rights. On 1 February 2019, Mayor Mathias De Clercq signed a strong commitment to principle 19 on housing and assistance for the homeless.

Ghent is committed to invest €90 million to expand the offer and increase the quality of social housing and low-budget private rental homes as well as to step up efforts to address homelessness including the expansion of shelter and Housing First initiatives.

Ghent pledges to:

  • Provide 200 new low-budget rental homes (partly on long-lease contracts).
  • Develop new construction and renovations of social housing and affordable rental homes for low-income groups, together with private investors (e.g. by exploring alternative construction and financing methods to deliver new projects more quickly).
  • Create a structural rolling fund for sustainable renovation; every year, 50 homes will be renovated that are purchased by people who cannot afford to renovate their home.
  • Double the number of entry-level homes from 5 to 10 (Housing First model), in combination with an educational programme for children and a labour market integration programme for adults.
  • Continue the ‘unoccupied building’ project to provide additional temporary and transit homes.

Then, in September 2020, Ghent reinforced its commitment to the EPSR, by signing a pledge to principle 11, on childcare and support to children. Ghent has an integrated and holistic anti-poverty policy to ensure that every resident can lead a dignified life. Ghent commits to:

  • Invest more than €570 million in tackling poverty this legislative term.
  • Strengthen the accessibility and quality of childcare for vulnerable families.
  • Fund additional educational support for children in poverty.
  • Reach out to every vulnerable family in the city and ensure their right to social security and assistance is fulfilled.
  • Promote accessible forms of participation and opportunities for cultural self-development for all citizens; for example, by offering additional inclusive leisure time activities.

Mayor Mathias De Clerq said: “Ghent makes housing a priority with ambitious goals. We will provide better housing to all target groups with a specific focus on people on low income and families with children”.

Besides, Ghent joined Amsterdam’s initiative to sign a joint pledge to equal opportunities, reaffirming their commitment to the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). Helsinki, Gijón, Utrecht, Frankfurt, Ghent and Amsterdam joined efforts to ensure equal opportunities (principle 3 of EPSR), because they believe that, especially in these unprecedented times of the pandemic crisis, every person has the right to equal treatment. To achieve this, the cities are committed to take bold actions.

As part of its commitment to equal opportunities, Ghent:

  • Has launched an action plan to make its infrastructure, city services and communication more accessible to all users, based on the concept of Universal Design.
  • Has put in place a strategy to detect and address risks of discrimination through situation testing in the housing and labour markets.