Changing the narrative of Community Led Housing

Communities want to play their part in easing the housing crisis.


Hundreds of communities have already set up community led housing organisations to do so. But there could be thousands. Tens of thousands, even. Community Led Homes aims to make this happen.

In the next five years, it is expected that community led housing groups will build around 5,000 homes.

This number isn’t huge, there’s no denying it.

Let’s not forget though, in the 1970s housing association homes accounted for less than 5% of all social housing. Today it’s around 75%. Change can happen.

And change must happen.

There’s a general consensus across the housing industry that innovation is needed. And with recent figures highlighting that housing starts are at a plateau, it’s clear that traditional housebuilders can’t build the 300,000 homes England needs each year alone.

The housing market must diversify.

For centuries affordable housing has been ‘provided to’ people – by churches, philanthropists, the government and more recently, housing associations. But this, too, is changing.

Resident involvement has been a buzz phrase for a number of years. And since Grenfell, tenant roadshows and opportunities for views to be shared have certainly increased.

This is positive, but there is a real desire for this to shift further.

For power to genuinely shift over to residents.

For a new kind of municipalism in which local government shares power with residents.

Community led housing encompasses many forms of citizen-led housing approaches, including housing co-operatives, community land trusts and cohousing communities.

Most of those turning to community led housing are seeing it as a way to take control of their own housing needs.

Community Led Homes aims to make these a mainstream option.

The community led housing movement is tremendously proud of its bottom-up nature and it’s crucial that this isn’t lost as the movement seeks to scale-up.

Community Led Homes has been set up to make it easier for communities to access support and build a lasting movement.

The programme has been developed by a consortium of four housing charities: the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, Locality, the National Community Land Trust Network and UK Cohousing.

Community Led Homes offers:

● A brand new website bringing together previously scattered resources from the entire movement, so there’s one place where people can learn about the movement and what’s involved

● Seed-corn grants of up to £10,000 for budding community groups to explore what’s right for them and to become legally incorporated organisations

● Grants to cover the costs to become a Registered Provider and a Homes England Investment Partner

● Over £3.5m of investment in the network of regional community led housing enabling hubs to raise awareness of the movement and offer practical support

● A training and accreditation scheme to ensure groups receive the best possible advice – at the moment this is for enabling hub staff and independent advisers, but we’re hoping to open this training up to other housing professionals later this year

Community Led Homes has been years in the making and has been designed to make the biggest impact at a local level.

It’s been made possible thanks to investment, totalling £6.7m, from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Power to Change and Nationwide Foundation.

This funding is in addition to the £163m Community Housing Fund that was launched by Government in July 2017.

Communities playing a meaningful role to steer development can only be a good thing and will help to build more sustainable communities.

There are plenty more opportunities for our two sectors to work together to build the affordable homes the country so desperately needs.

Here’s to a future full of community led homes.

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