With an estimated 8.4 million people in England living in unaffordable, unsuitable or insecure homes, there has been a call to help reverse this housing crisis. With 340,000 new homes needed every year to support our growing population, more emphasis needs to be placed on providing homes that meet our needs and are readily available. Whilst local authorities and housing associations across the country are working to meet our housing requirements, there are other ways that targets can be met. Community-led housing can – and does – support many priorities of housing associations and local authorities whilst keeping the core needs and values of the community close to heart.
It increases choice and diversity within the housing market.
Many community-led housing schemes involved a mix of tenures that not only maintain the feasibility of a community by increasing diversity and choice but enable local people to remain in the area they call home.
It can support rural and urban regeneration and help return empty properties to use.
Within both rural and urban areas, community-led housing can play a role in refurbishment as well as new provision. By working closely with housing associations and local authorities, existing community organisations can help add to the available housing stock through conversion of unused housing, rebuilding local confidence in neighbourhoods, attracting new investment and strengthening local economies.
It can reduce the opposition to development.
Homes targeted at the local community – that are available to them on a long-term basis and are genuinely affordable – can be pivotal in winning local support. Community-led housing is also becoming a more prominent feature in local plans for many areas, increasing the opportunity for successful planning decisions for such schemes.
It can empower local communities and help to become more resilient and self-reliant.
Empowered communities make decisions about their own local areas, often leading to self-generated and practical solutions to their own problems. By encouraging communities to become more sustainable and resilient, community-led housing schemes ensure these communities are empowered to make the change they want to see.
It can enable vulnerable and older people to live well in their own communities.
Community-led housing schemes can enhance the well-being of older people – as well as reducing dependence – by enabling them to have an active role in the decision-making of their community. This further encourages mutual care and support and provides opportunity to create homes specific to their current or future needs, such as a Lifetime Home. At a time of public spending pressure, this is a great way to help local authorities manage demand for support services.
It can utilise financial and other resources not available to other housing providers.
Community-led housing schemes have access to revenue grants, loans and significant dedicated capital from both the social investment sector and Government. They are increasingly using community bond issues and crowdfunding to raise their own scheme funding. This keeps the homes they produce genuinely affordable to the local people.
Our values-driven approach means that we always try to help community groups based on their needs:
No exploitation of People or Planet in the pursuit of Profit.
You can contact us for more information about the work that we do, as well as finding more information about how affordable homes can benefit your local community on our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages.