Project HOME Sets Out to Boost International Student Mobility

EU-Financed Project Will Develop Quality Standard for Student Housing and Provide the Digital Infrastructure for a Shared Data Information System

Rotterdam, September 26, 2019Project HOME, short for Home of Mobile Europeans, announces it will receive funding as a Strategic Partnership under the KA2 of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, and operations will commence this October. The project, initiated by a consortium of six organizations coordinated by HousingAnywhere and executed with the help of partners and stakeholders, will work on boosting international mobility by defining and implementing quality standards for international student and trainee housing, while also creating a shared data information system. The official launch of HOME is at EAIE 2019, Europe's largest international higher education conference, which took place from 24 to 27 September in Helsinki, Finland.

The need for standards

Finding reliable and safe accommodation is the main obstacle to international mobility for students, as confirmed by the HousErasmus+ Report. The latest European Commission Erasmus+ quality survey also illustrates how satisfaction with support in finding accommodation has undergone a substantial decrease (now at 65%, which is -12% compared to the previous survey). With the European Commission planning on doubling the budget and tripling the volumes of international mobility by 2027, there is now, more than ever, a need for developing the HousErasmus+ learnings into a concrete plan of action. Such an answer must be forward-looking and in line with the digital integration framework of student mobility services, as set by Erasmus Without Paper, the European Student Card and the Erasmus+ App.

Project HOME tackles one of the core obstacles to mobility: the lack of accessible and affordable accommodation. To do so, HOME will first define a set of quality labels in terms of security and accessibility, international student friendliness and an indication of regional affordability, with a seal of official EU recognition. Secondly, HOME will develop a digitalized infrastructure that integrates the search for accommodation into a digital and easily accessible flow embedded in the existing and future European mobility frameworks (e.g., Erasmus+ without Papers, European Student Card and the Erasmus+ App). At the same time, educational resources are made accessible to everyone, along with a toolkit to spread and replicate the learnings at the local level. Djordy Seelmann, CEO HousingAnywhere:

HOME will offer an infrastructure to provide and recommend trustable accommodation to students and trainees, who, at the moment, have no good way to judge the quality of the accommodations on offer, while landlords and housing operators will be empowered to certify the quality of their properties and offer them in a homogenized and officially recognized system. As a result, HOME will make it easier and safer for mobile students and trainees to find their new home abroad.

Partners and stakeholders

Partner organisations, ESN, EUF, Confia, UIPI and Polytechnic of Milan, were carefully selected to represent the different stakeholders of the European student housing market, such as the International Union of Property Owners (UIPI), the European University Foundation (EUF), the Polytechnic of Milan (PoliMi), the Erasmus Student Network (ESN International) and learning mobility experts CONFIA. The project has also claimed the endorsement of 40+ universities and housing providers.

Project HOME fits within the framework of another project to digitize higher education: Erasmus Without Paper (EWP), which was initiated by the EUF and will provide a digital information infrastructure to students studying abroad. This will help to manage every aspect of their mobility, such as signing agreements, choosing courses and, most importantly, housing. Since EWP does not cover student housing, HOME complements it to make finding accommodation abroad easier and safer for all students. Stefan Jahnke, Head of Brussels office, European University Foundation and coordinator of the Erasmus Without Papers project:

The European University Foundation, representing leading universities from all across Europe, recognizes the issue of student housing as one of the main obstacles to student mobility. This is why we are happy to play a central part in the HOME project. We look forward to contributing with our expertise on European policy issues, as well as to provide insight into the digitalization of the Erasmus+ management for Higher Education institutions as one of the main drivers to make student accommodation more broadly accessible and ensure the necessary quality through digital solutions.

Project HOME covers the whole EU area. As a pilot, the initial dissemination and validation will focus on the regions where results are more easily scalable. Organized training will ensure that educational resources on the quality labels can be easily spread, with workshops replicated throughout Europe at the local level, bringing together the different stakeholders involved.

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HousingAnywhere project HOME kickoff EAIE Project HOME kick-off at EAIE, with project partners left to right: Kostis Giannidis, President of ESN, Susanna Graziano, International Relations Manager Camplus, Michael Steinmann, CCO HousingAnywhere, Leonardo Fuligni, Global Expansion Manager Housinganywhere, Sabina Achim, Communication Manager ESN, and Stefan Jahnke, Senior Policy Officer European University Foundation.

co-funded by the EU

About HousingAnywhere

HousingAnywhere is the world's largest housing platform for international students and young professionals with over 50,000 active advertisements and 8 million users in over 60 countries. The housing platform allows tenants to interact directly with landlords and enter into medium-term rental agreements. More than 160 partner universities recommend their students to use the HousingAnywhere platform. The Rotterdam-based platform currently employs 90 people.

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Simone Pouw, PR Manager