Local housing, community living: prospects for scaling up and scaling out community-led housing

Document type
Heywood, Andrew
Smith Institute
Date of publication
2 January 2016
Housing and Homelessness, Community Development and Regeneration
Social welfare
Material type

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This 62 page report, based on 45 interviews, surveys and in-depth research and discussions, highlights how community-led housing schemes have successfully met the needs and aspirations of local groups and communities. The research reveals that developments are innovative, have environmentally sustainable design, built to high standards, pay close attention to local housing need and most importantly, are affordable. And as new development starts and ends with local people, rather than profits and share prices, local concerns about building new homes can be allayed.

The report also outlines how the advantages and attractiveness of the sector go beyond bricks and mortar. Most developments make provision for local services such as shops and pubs, and create open spaces. Local groups also involve themselves in training and job creation, and some work to reduce crime and promote community cohesion.

Despite the advantages the sector has to offer, it remains small, with only limited government support – the decision not to renew the Empty Homes Community Grants Programme (EHCGP) was a significant setback. However, there is scope for the sector to expand steadily. Whilst growth is likely to be organic and shaped by local circumstances, the report concludes if community-led housing is to move from the margins to the mainstream (without comprising its core value) more needs to be done.

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