What's community-led housing when it's at home?

In May 2018, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan released his London Housing Strategy which sought to tackle London’s housing crisis and created an implementation plan. It had five priorities; to deliver homes for Londoners, to deliver genuinely affordable homes, high quality homes and inclusive neighbourhoods, a fairer deal for private renters and leaseholders, and tackling homelessness and helping rough sleepers.

On from this, earlier this month (January 2019) Mr Khan launched a £38m fund for community led housing. “What is community-led housing when it’s at home?”, I hear you question into your screens.

As part of research for this article, I fell down a rabbit hole researching the types of community led-housing, watching animations explaining Community Land Trusts (CLT’s), I signed a petition from Shelter calling for more social homes to be built, marvelled at co-housing building momentum which now has 19 fully built co-housing communities as well as a further 60+ co-housing groups developing projects right now in the UK. Some for couples and families, but some have been created for common interest groups such as women only, or LGBT+ groups. What a dream.

The funds will be allocated thus, £30m will be available as supports for building and the remaining £8m will be there as a revolving loan system for the city, which communities start to payback when they are in a stage in their development to start paying it back.

All the above will help with the current housing crisis by finding different ways to try and meet and succeed affordable housing targets as well as ensuring that schemes that are in place now are fed, encouraged and duplicated across the city, enabling the people to take control.

The most interesting recently sprung up community-led housing was the CLT’s. I say so, because it’s such a simple idea yet powerful idea. The community decides that there are not enough affordable housing in their area, young families are being priced out, post offices and pubs are closing down. They come together and form a collective of volunteers. They then buy, or are granted a plot of land to build on, from then on they own the land, and can do with it as they may. They may also apply for the loan part of the fund from Sadiq Khan to help with costs which arise such as submitting planning applications or architectural design fees. They can work with developers, contractors, or they use their own two hands to build the homes they’ve designed to make their area a better place to live.

 

The best part of all this is that they build homes that people can genuinely afford, based on what people earn in an area, and ensuring that the houses remain affordable.

 

As a millennial who thought she had no hope in getting onto the property market any time soon, myself and my peer group are frequently heard to be complaining about the lack of affordable housing, in between sips of Savignon Blanc. What resonated with me was the idea of community getting together to do something about the lack of houses being built, rather than complaining in a pub garden about the lack of houses being built.

We look forward to seeing more of these in the future and how Sadiq can grow them across London.

 

Mary Cleaver & Mabel Ogundayo

The YIMBYMPC