Age-friendly housing – Homes4Life presents new EU certification scheme

An EU-funded project, in which AGE has been involved, combines engineering and technical sciences with human and social sciences to develop a certification scheme supporting independent living at home. Homes4life’s innovative perspective on housing was presented at the project’s final event.

On 28 January 2021 the Homes4Life project held its final conference to present its main project outcomes and discuss upcoming perspectives. The event featured a presentation of the Homes4Life Vision for age-friendly living environments, which has underpinned the development of the European Homes4Life Certification Scheme of ageing in place.

Affordable, accessible and quality housing adapted to individual needs

The first part of the conference was dedicated to a roundtable discussing the notion of affordable and quality housing for all and how policy makers can support such a change. The roundtable involved MEP Kim van Sparrentak, Catherine Mc Guigan (Age-friendly Ireland) and Roslyn Molloy (Housing Agency). Catherine McGuigan reminded the audience about the importance of directly consulting older people to better understand the challenges and barriers older adults are facing every day. Such understanding is at the very base of their age-friendly strategies for the past 11 years and more particularly of their Policy Statement on Housing Options for Our Ageing Population. The Irish housing and health departments are working together to develop a far reaching range of housing options for older people, suited to their individual needs so they can plan ahead and, insofar as possible, choose the right home for them.

“If the State is to invest in more support housing, there would be significant savings made. If the government was to invest directly in building 11.400 social housing units, the state would save 900 million euros over the next 30 years.”

Roslyn Molloy, from the Housing Agency

Finally, our last speaker, MEP Kim van Sparrentak, who presented the EP report on affordable housing, insisted on the importance of considering aspects such as accessibility from the very beginning when renovating homes to make them more climate and energy-friendly in the framework of the Next Renovation Wave. This will ensure that the renovation wave truly becomes a social inclusive renovation wave. Moreover, she urged Member States to prioritise housing renovation through the Recovery Programme. This will kick start the economy and improve health.

The second part of the final event gave the floor to some of the 10 pilot sites that tested the certification scheme. They were given the opportunity to explain how their housing initiative adopted an age-friendly housing approach and share the lessons drawn from testing the Homes4Life certification scheme.

  • Housing with Supports, Inchicore, Dublin, Ireland
  • Pôle INTERGénérationnel Méridia, Nice, France
  • Résidence kalia, Busy, France
  • Alice & Victor, Neuilly-lès-Dijon, France
  • Borgo Mazzini Smart Cohousing, Treviso, Italy
  • Mimo wieku, Warsaw, Poland
  • Multigenerational house, Łódź, Poland
  • BRISA DEL CANTABRICO – Ciudad residencial, Spain
  • Etxegoki, Bilbao, Spain
  • De Hogeweyk, Weesp, the Netherlands

“Participating in the Homes4Life project confirmed our belief that it is very important to ensure a diverse social structure when settling a renovated tenement house.”

“Implementing the Homes4Life evaluation framework is a way for us to benchmark our efforts at the European level” to position ourselves with others cities in Europe – not just in terms of the quality of our services, but also in terms of our social and economic strategy.”

“We think that this certification can act as a guide to maintain the quality also in the implementation phase of the building and use the lessons learned from this experience for other future housing implementations. The H4L process has been a powerful tool to look at our project in a more holistic way and we are sure that this is going to be a great support for both providing quality housing services and future initiatives.”


Picture of our pilot sites with their certification award

The wide scope of age-friendliness

The richness of the exchange in this project between engineering and technical sciences AND human and social sciences, shows that the questions related to age friendly housing can not be addressed from one single point of view. Age-friendly housing is a sensitive area, fundamentally linked to the relationships that people – as residents of housing and users of public space – have with their environment. Developing a favorable relationship with one’s environment requires not only that the material conditions of the different spheres of housing ensure comfort and safety to those who live there, but also allow them to maintain an active role in society, prerequisite for community life and ultimately well-being.

The whole event can be watched again here.

The slides are also available to download below:

  • Part 1 – Homes4Life Vision and Certification Scheme
  • Part 2 – Homes4Life pilot sites – Award Ceremony

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