Adequate shelter for all was one of two main themes at the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey in June 1996. The Habitat II vision requires an effective policy framework if it is to be operationalised. This publication offers a new approach to housing policy as a set of minimum standards providing a small core of policy guidelines. This approach leaves maximum room for flexibility at a detailed level while ensuring that key bottlenecks are addressed and that basic needs protected. Three sets of measures are suggested as being already accepted in policy: (i) competent and accountable state, business, and society input is needed for housing; (ii) key supply-side measures need to be addressed; and (iii) links are needed between housing and wider economic, social, and environmental goals. Opinion is divided in three areas: (i) poverty alleviation through housing; (ii) balancing different economic paradigms; and (iii) scaling up successful projects.