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Report: Community-led housing should be part of housing shortage solution

Words: Laura Edgar
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Community-led housing should be part of the ‘strategic mix’ to increase the supply of affordable homes available to local people, a new report has argued.

Community-Led Housing: A Key Role for Local Authorities notes that while different solutions are required for different markets, community-led housing can make a contribution – whether through building new homes, returning empty properties to use or introducing community-led housing into the management of existing homes.

In November last year, then housing minister Alok Sharma announced a new programme of funding for community-led housing. The first £60 million was announced in December 2016, but it went quiet after that until Sharma spoke at the first National Community-Led Housing Conference.

The report, by the Housing Commission on Community-Led Housing, also sets out how community-led housing can help local authorities to achieve their strategic priorities, such as returning homes to use and empowering communities to become more self-sufficient.

Sharon Taylor OBE, chair of the Co-operative Councils’ Innovation Network, which set up the commission, and leader of Stevenage Borough Council, who commissioned the report, said that with 12 different case studies, the report “shows that there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to generating community-led housing”.

“Housing is at a crisis point in the UK. Too often we hear that people are caught in the private rental trap or unable to get on to the housing ladder. Enabling communities to create affordable homes is something that local councils can do, and this report provides real examples of how to do it. We’re encouraging all councils to commit to supporting the development of more community-led housing.”

Tony Newman, chair of the commission and leader of Croydon Council, added: “The housing markets across the UK are failing to meet the needs of local communities. We are advocating community-led housing because we recognise the shortage of public sector resources for housing. We need to harness communities’ local knowledge, commitment and resources in order to generate affordable housing.”

The case studies include projects from Brighton & Hove City Council, Glasgow, City Council and Carmarthenshire County Council.

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