Learning Delegation on Social Housing to Vienna, Austria

In partnership with the Housing Justice for All coalition, The Action Lab is bringing a delegation of tenant leaders, housing organizers, policy-makers, and elected officials to Vienna from October 16-23, 2022.

Impressively, more than 60% of Vienna’s population lives in social housing. While there, we will tour Vienna’s model of social housing and meet with tenant councils, organizers, and city employees involved in planning, technical assistance, financing, and more. By visiting Vienna, we are seeking to learn from a successful social housing program and to help organizers to apply its lessons to New York State. 

Karl Marx Hof, a social housing community in Vienna

The scale of the New York City/New York State housing crisis requires a deep paradigm shift – and we can learn a few things from Vienna. Its social housing is well-known for its exceptional quality and architectural innovation. Its model of public provision, non-market provision through cooperatives and extremely regulated private sector housing is an extraordinary success. 

By building new social housing, and using a social housing agency to acquire and retrofit distressed properties into social housing, we believe the current conditions are ripe for the creation of  a public option for housing that meets the needs of the poorest New Yorkers as well as the working and middle class. 

Upon return we will work with the Initiative for Community Power and the Urban Democracy Lab to produce a report on the delegation, organize briefings for other organizers, tenant leaders and public officials and organize an event for the delegation to share learnings and insights with the broader tenants’ movement in New York State.