The Ghent Knapt Op project addresses a significant need in the city by providing support and assistance to low-income homeowners who are living in poor quality housing. Providing affordable and accessible housing options is an important issue for many cities, and the Ghent Knapt Op project is working to improve the quality of housing for those who may not have other options available to them.
The project’s main target group – ‘the captive owners’ – are homeowning residents who do not have the means to renovate their homes to an adequate living standard. In many instances, the homes were inherited or purchased in poor condition, because families were not able to afford rental housing, and then they didn’t qualify for private financing for the renovation works.
Ghent Knapt Op not only helped to improve the quality of housing for low-income homeowners, but it also provided social support to participants as they experienced the renovation process. By becoming an integral part of the process and supporting homeowners socially, the project was able to help improve their self-esteem, self-reliance, and social connections. It's important to recognize the multiple benefits of initiatives like this, which not only improve the physical living conditions of those in need, but also can have a positive impact on their overall quality of life.
The Ghent Knapt Op pilot project also introduced a new financial model called a "recurring fund" to address the shortage of affordable housing in the city and provide sustainability to the project. The fund works by providing financial support (a contribution of 30,000 euros) for essential renovation works to homeowners. The homeowners then pay back the original contribution plus an additional premium based on the added value of the house when it is sold. This allows for longer-term sustainability of the programme and provides a way for more dwellings to be renovated in the future. It's a creative approach to addressing the shortage of affordable housing, and the project also provides intensive social and technical supervision and community building in addition to the funding.
Overall project objectives
- Housing quality & energy upgrades
- Well-being and quality of life
- Social cohesion and participation
- Pro-active take-up of social rights