Exchange of knowledge
in housing and care

Welcome at Becx & van Loon

Guided by Dolf Becx, our organization tries to contribute to improve quality of life for people who need it. Sometimes it is called ‘livability’, sometimes ‘social engineering’, sometimes ‘development of housing with care’. It is up to you to give it a name. Our reference is an extended group of clients in the Netherlands and abroad, whom we may inspire, advise and assist. With our international knowledge we have contributed to many inspiring concepts. Our USP is that we do not believe so much in pure innovation. We think that the best kind of innovation is more like ‘improvement’, ‘extending’ and ‘tailor making’. That is why we are constantly searching for the best solutions in Europe and the U.S. We can offer you to join us in such an investigation. Our study trips are highly valued. Not so often a concept is ours. We will try to get our customers enthusiastic, we learn clients to do it themselves and we support only where it is necessary. That is to our point of view the best guaranty for social sustainability. What we do is always profitable for your organization and your real estate. We can offer you instruments to see and measure the results. Many times our kind of work is eligible for grants. That will save you development costs. We would be most happy to discuss all this with you sometime.


Our offer 1: Consultancy for innovation in social housing

Due to our international experience we can offer you consultancy on innovation in the social aspects of housing all over the western world. In the Netherlands our specialism is called 'liveability'. All over the western world it is clear that the value of social housing in terms of real estate is mostly dictated by the way people behave in the neighbourhood towards their own home, public space and each other. Improving behaviour, mostly by offering positive alternatives for negative aspects of daily life, leads to improvement of the value of the real estate. It diminishes vandalism, crime and all kind of need for social and economic assistance. Main issue is to know how to find the really effective programs. We learned to listen first to people and to start a program in a way that they understand. We organise the programs step by step: each step from 'us' is to be followed by a step from tenants. Tenants always become vastly responsible for the programs we put in on behalf of our clients. With a clever tool we measure the social and economic results of the investments, so the client knows what he earned on the program after a period of time.


Our offer 2: Consultancy for innovation in (residential) care

Another explanation of 'liveability' is the quality of life of special groups in society. We learned, that many residential care concepts are based on a regulated offer, mostly a prescript of government. These kind of care concepts become more and more outdated and also far too expensive. Elderly people and people with disabilities earn as much quality of life as any other does. It is only more difficult to find out what their demand really is. Sometimes you can't even communicate easily with them. We studied on many experimental concepts in e.g. Germany, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, the UK and Sweden and concluded that there are fine alternatives. It demands another way of thinking: 'out of the box'. The focus is put first on the residents. If they can't express themselves, we work with the method of 'psycho-biography', invented and developed by the Austrian professor Erwin Böhm, especially for people who suffer from Alzheimer disease and dementia. And we can assure you, that these alternatives are not more expensive than regular known concepts, on the contrary! Our offer 3: working with EU funded programs As a result of our international focus, we are able to work with EU funded partner programs. Many of these programs are about aspects of 'liveability'. Improving the quality of life for special groups, like elderly people for instance. But themes such as improving mobility or saving energy are also part of a better life in the future: they are all subject to funding in European programs. Many organisations don't work with EU funding or only apply to regional or national offers because they think it is impossible to apply themselves directly. The restraint is clear. It is not always easy to find your European partners for a project and the administrative obligations around EU projects are not really simple. However, we learned to deal with this problems. Because of our European network, we can find you the inspiring partners you need and because of our practical experience we know how to deal with administrative procedures. We do not just help you find funding. We even invest together with you in that part of the job. Our added value is the coordination of your project, the communication with your partners, the set up of all kinds of meetings and the administrative work throughout the project. So, we want to be a very helpful part of your project.


Our offer 4: knowledge exchange and study tours.

At this moment we can offer you a series of interesting studies 'on the spot' abroad about liveability in the neighbourhood, about inspiring concepts for housing and care, about very special concepts for dementia care and the same for people with complex disabilities. All these studies are about wellbeing of clients: as much own control over their lives as possible, fighting loneliness and improving the simple daily feeling of happiness. In formal terms it is called 'social inclusion'. We can show you liveability and care concepts including the necessary management tools but also the efficient use of new technologies. Apart from that, we show you also the costs and the benefits of these concepts and learn you that alternative concepts can be absolutely cost effective.


Examples

1. Coeur du Village
In the Drôme Valley region (Valence, Montélimar)
French solutions for liveability in small towns and villages
Focus on responsibility for citizens (both home owners and tenants); cost effective facilitating by local government and housing associations.

2. Effective restructuration
Lyon
Excellent example of combined improvement of neighbourhoods. Smart combination of social and constructive improvements; focus on peoples own responsibility, even with the most difficult social groups. Using typical Lyon philosophy of Tony Garnier, who invented 'liveability in high rise buildings' in the interbellum periode.

3. Creamos Habitat
Barcelona, Valencia
The autonomic regions along the Mediterranean in Spain have reorganised most of their social neighbourhoods into very liveable mixed and self supporting areas, focused on meeting in high quality public space. Although Spain is hit hard by crisis, these kind of investments still go on.

4. Co operative responsibility
Hannover, Hamburg, Berlin
The German way of improving social neighbourhoods is based on vast research. The outcome is surprising. With the use of basically old principles on co operative ownership, housing associations succeed in creating far more responsibility for tenants. Sometimes tenants even obtain parts of financial responsibility for maintenance of public space. Part of the secret is the creation of small communities within a neighbourhood and a high level of quality for the buildings.

5. Energy efficient programs
France/Germany/Sweden
What started in Sweden (and a bit in Denmark) is now common knowledge in many parts of Germany and France: new build housing and restructured housing is totally of almost 'passive' in energy use. It is a surprisingly well developed principle in these countries in places where you wouldn't expect it in the first place.

6. Vast improvement of dementia care
Bochum (Germany), Maastricht, Elburg and Tilburg (the Netherlands)
Started in Germany by Prof. Erwin Böhm the philosophy of 'psycho-biography' is rapidly finding its way in the Netherlands too.
It is all about an important change of mind for dementia care. Many organisations for residential care work with an offer-based program, that doesn't appeal on people with dementia, because they live in parts of their own history. The concept behind 'psycho-biography' is based on personal programs for each individual. That comes with much more responsibility for staff in care and less need for management. In the end it is beneficial for clients, but also for care organisations and health care finances.

7. Hospitality concepts for elderly care
The Netherlands
In the Netherlands most of the institutions for residential elderly care have altered their concepts. They have changed into comfortable buildings, with hospitality issues as one of the most important quality factors.
Approaches can be different, but many examples have now cosy meeting rooms, that look like real pubs and bars; they are brighter and more colourful than before and staff is trained in smiling to residents. They have definitely become good examples for other countries and we know a whole range of them.

8. Residential elderly care in the neighbourhood
Lyon/Villeurbanne and Drôme region France; Tilburg, the Netherlands, Valencia Spain
Another way of residential elderly care that people really like is the possibility to stay in their own neighbourhood, even if an independent life is no longer possible.
Southern French local government and housing associations started with small scale neighbourhood care homes, with intensive interaction programs in that neighbourhood.
The Netherlands started up such programs also, although they could choose for larger scale schemes because of the density of the elderly population.
Valencia is one of the latest followers of this idea and they learned from previous examples. And more than that: they involved family and friends in the neighbourhood to provide parts of care and company, so the residential care could become affordable.

9. Special schemes for people with complex disabilities
Vlissingen, Bergen op Zoom, Roosendaal: The Netherlands
What counts for people with dementia, counts as well for people with complex disabilities, like behaviour problems. Although those people have great difficulty in communicating about their needs and preferences, they also deserve happiness in their lives. Together with universities and providers of special technical equipment, some organisations for residential disability care have started up innovative programs to improve care for people with complex disabilities. Special housing is build, special care programs are developed and all kinds of assisting new technical equipment is experimented with.
Although it only started in 2011, the first signals are hopeful and soon there will be already figures about the results.