Communities tackling housing crisis by building own homes

By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor

It is widely accepted there is a housing crisis across the country especially in the capital, with the chance for people to own their homes out of reach from even the professional class.

So in an effort to alleviate some of the pressure on the housing market, a new programme is helping communities by assisting them to build their own homes.

The scheme has been launched by Locality, using funding from the Nationwide Foundation. Locality is a national network of ambitious and enterprising community-led organisations, working together to help neighbourhoods thrive.

The Early Stage Support Programme aims to help 22 community groups start up their own community-led housing projects to provide affordable, decent homes for local people.

Locality is using a grant of £160,000 to help these groups on the road to creating homes themselves. They looked at possible modular-build houses, ultra-low energy developments, derelict property refurbishment and the re-use of unlikely sites such as office blocks.

Locality Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: “This new programme will help people to take back control of one of the most important issues facing us in the UK today.

“The housing crisis is on everyone’s minds as people are priced out of buying their own homes, paying exorbitant rents in the private sector or forced to wait for years on the social housing register.

“But it doesn’t have to be like this. Communities can and should be building their own housing and there are already lots of successful community groups building the kinds of homes their area needs. This new programme will help people all over the country become masters of their own destinies and do something to provide quality affordable housing for themselves, their families and their communities.”

Community-led housing projects only now 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.

Recent research by Locality found that groups developing their own small-scale housing, which can be sold to create income for the community, or rented to local people at affordable rates, acts as a lynchpin community activity which leads to many other local benefits.


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