Building their own: How pioneering community groups are helping to tackle the housing crisis

Posted on the 16th September 2016

Image: LILAC (Low Impact Living Affordable Community)

The housing shortage, rocketing rents and sky-high house prices mean that quality, affordable housing is out of reach for many people in the UK – but all over the country communities are quietly rebelling against the housing crisis by building their own.

My Community and Locality are helping community groups all over England to take a stand against the housing crisis by taking up the challenge of building the homes their own community needs.

This week 22 pioneering groups around England have been selected for specialist help to start up their own community-led housing projects as part of a new programme to encourage communities to build housing for themselves.

Through the new Early Stage Support programme, we will see that communities building their own housing is a viable, mainstream option to help beat the housing crisis and provide much-needed quality, affordable housing for neighbourhoods in need.

Locality Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: “It’s so exciting to be giving these groups the chance to get started with their own community-led developments.

“Communities know what kind of housing is needed in their neighbourhoods and can be best placed to provide quality, affordable homes for the people in their area. All they need is a little help to get started and this programme will help them achieve their vision and, we hope, inspire other groups to take up the challenge too.”

Community-led housing is largely overlooked as a solution to the crisis but up and down the country people are taking the matter into their own hands, showing that it could be a mainstream option to provide much-needed affordable housing across the country.

Funded with a grant from the Nationwide Foundation, Locality will provide guidance and support to help groups take their first steps on the path to creating homes for their local communities, helping to quietly revolutionise housing and ensure decent, truly affordable homes are provided for people who need them.

The aim of the programme is to get projects to the stage where they can apply for government funding through My Community.

Locality will use the skills and expertise gathered by groups already operating in the field, building on existing successes and paving the way for other groups to follow.

Community-led housing projects currently make up only one per cent of the housing market but they are attracting increasing interest as they have been shown to have wide ranging benefits, meeting local housing needs as well as raising funds through rental income that can be used to reinvest in more housing or support the wider regeneration of an area.

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