Empty houses Ukraine War refugees

Presentation of the Pilot Project Empty Homes Collaborative

Background: Empty homes as an opportunity.

Maria Jose Anitua, S.L. as a social company specialised in legal advice in the real estate sector (taxation and contracts for more than 40 years), sees empty homes as an opportunity, after specialising for 10 years in collaborative law, thanks to a pilot project with two clients on bringing empty premises into use.



In 2017 he co-founded the Arteale Foundation for the promotion of Collaborative Law through pilot projects. https://arteale.org/

The Arteale Foundation has started in July 2018 the Empty Homes Collaborative Pilot Project, recognised as Good Practice by the European Commission. https://ec.europa.eu/migrant-integration/integration-practice/empty-houses-homeless- project-casas-sin-gente-para-gente-sin-casa_en


Developed in Vitoria-Gasteiz and promoted by the social enterprise Maria Jose Anitua, S.L., it has international projection, due to its innovative nature and holistic approach to empty homes, an important systemic problem in the European Union, where there are more than 31,000,000 empty homes.

So far, 32 refugees and migrants have been provided with safe and inclusive decent housing and 8 empty houses have been put into use, thanks mainly to the collaboration of the citizens.

Research carried out by specialists in the field has shown that housing and mobility are the two main risks to climate change (40% of solid waste comes from new construction).

Thanks to the use of empty homes, in addition to providing quick and dignified access to housing in the city centre, it is possible to make the most of a wasted asset, maintain the heritage and avoid the construction of new homes, thus avoiding the generation of waste from construction and reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. This is a paradigmatic example of circular economy, with a positive social, economic and environmental impact. (Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profit)

During 2021, the Empty Homes Collaborative project has been presented, making it known at the European Parliament level, where a pilot project has been promoted for more than six months.

In 2021 we have participated in the National Congress on Collaborative Housing and Territory, of the Unesco Housing Chair. There we had the opportunity to present the project Empty Homes Collaborative , and our vision in relation to tax incentives, which are key to bringing empty homes into use and how to optimise taxation.

On 30 November 2021, at the invitation of the European Commission, at the “Mutual Learning Conference on Migrant Integration” we have presented the project at the workshop. “Finding sustainable housing solutions”.

The Arteale Foundation continues to promote the Artealen Lagunak Association, which was set up in 2020 as a network of volunteers and carries out the inclusive monitoring of the beneficiaries of the housing provided by the project. https://arteale.org/artealen-lagunak/

Escuchamos las necesidades de las beneficiarias del proyecto y ofrecemos respuesta gracias al trabajo en red, en ámbitos como el formativo, deportivo, salud y bienestar y movilidad.

In the field of sport, we would like to highlight the recent collaboration with the 5 + 11 Foundation.


In the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, we are working to find empty houses and support for real inclusion. We are adapting to the needs of this new reception situation, in an emergency situation and collaborating.

We believe that empty houses are an opportunity to help refugees fleeing from war on an EU-wide level.

At the same time, we would like to emphasise that in our experience, providing a house is not enough. For a real reception, much more help is needed.

In order for the owners of empty houses to open their doors, it is necessary to give them confidence and guarantees.

We are seeing that the citizens of the Basque Country show solidarity. It is time to join forces.

The reuse of empty homes is an opportunity at European Union level, as can be seen in the following graph drawn up by the OECD.

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