Ghent Knapt Op (GKO) is in the process of renovating 85 houses for vulnerable families living in Ghent and transforming them into healthier, safer and more energy-efficient homes. The importance of dignified, safe and secure housing has been starkly highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic, during which most Europeans have been ‘home-bound’, restricted to their apartments, flats or houses for large parts of the year.
During the first year of the pandemic, Ghent Knapt Op focused on finding the right applicants with the appropriate houses that met the criteria of the project. Project criteria were set out at the beginning of the project, and candidates were screened on a number of social parameters such as income, educational level, etc. Also, their houses were evaluated based on a number of technical factors and the Flemish Housing Code.
The past year has been a time race for Ghent Knapt Op that has focused mainly on renovations for beneficiaries who are involved in the project. Most of the renovations have already been realised, leaving a small number that are still in the process. This has been a challenging time, as health and financial situation of the beneficiaries changed drastically and problems in construction also arose, such as delivery delays and rising material costs.
Ghent Knapt Op supported and realised the renovations by supplying the captive residents with structural, financial, administrative and social services throughout the construction process, which was a tense time for many homeowners. Renovations have been at the forefront of the focus of the project during this challenging time. Quality of the home and social effects in terms of well-being, health and social cohesion have been included though the GKO process. Ghent Knapt Op managed to successfully realise most of the renovations and innovatively faced all the challenges that occurred.
- Covid restrictions in communication and supporting beneficiaries.
- Covid restrictions in engaging beneficiaries with community outreach.
- Health deterioration and loss of income due to Covid: both beneficiaries and UIA project staff faced these challenges.
- Material price increases and delivery delays in construction products.