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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Community-led housing is housing which is built or brought back into use by local people.
These groups manage housing projects to build decent and affordable homes.
Anyone can begin and deliver a community-led housing project, so you don't need to work in the housing industry.
Homes built this way are owned or managed by local people. Their benefits to these people are forever legally protected.
Eastern Community Homes offers tools and support for groups interested in community-led housing in the East of England.
We offer support in developing affordable housing in whichever form it may take.
We are a national motion helping groups meet their local housing needs. Eastern Community Homes will be funded by the Ministry of Housing Communities to begin with, as well as local governments' Community Housing Fund.
Eastern Community Homes is trusted charity with more than 90 years' experience in developing communities. We strive to be the top source for advice, resources and contacts.
Eastern Community Homes offers:
- One-to-one support
- Professional contacts
- Connections with local planners
- Opportunities to work with possible partners
- Networking opportunities with other community housing groups
Community-led housing can be:
- Community Land trusts
- Housing co-operatives
Cohousing is when a community works together to build a neighbourhood based on certain values. These values are often linked to one agreed way of living.
The UK Cohousing Network – defines this as:
- Cohousing communities are created and run by mindful residents. Each household has a private home as well as a shared community space. Residents come together to manage their community, share activities and eat together.
- It is a way of tackling the loneliness many experience today and provides them with a community spirit.
- These groups can welcome people or families of all ages and backgrounds. However, they may cater to certain groups of people with a common interest, such as women or LGBT groups.
Cohousing balances privacy and community. This means that groups are often between 10 and 40 households, helping residents to make closer bonds. Residents are in charge and communities make decisions together.
Though it is about living collectively, it is different from a commune. This is because residents have their own homes but share resources, meet and eat together.
There has been a big push recently to support cohousing to tackle loneliness.
A CLT is a not-for-profit, community-based group run by volunteers to build assets that address local needs. The Housing and Regeneration Act of 2008 states that:
- A CLT must be a not-for-profit organisation that is open to all who live and work in a community. These members must also own and manage the group
- They must be set up only to promote the social, economic and environmental interests of a community
- The assets of a CLT must provide a benefit to a local area and be legally protected in the long-term
Usually, a CLT is set up because local people cannot afford open-market housing. CLTs let communities lead each aspect of the building of new homes, including what they are, where they are and how they look.
Another reason may be the need to acquire a local public asset. For example, locals may want to purchase a local pub that is about to close.
CLTs are managed by locals. Their memberships are open to all who live or work in their communities.
Members choose a board of volunteers to run the trust. This board will carry a range of skills drawn from residents, employers and more.
The control the board has over houses varies with local context. Some CLTs may benefit from using housing associations to better manage their homes, and local agents could be employed to help.
We can help you find a good local partner and set up a working relationship.
Volunteers' time is limited, so CLTs can be difficult to run. Eastern Community Homes can provide support and advice, including developing trusts to manage their dealings on their own.
The National CLT Network also offers online learning opportunities at local and national workshops.
A housing co-operative is a housing organisation that is managed and owned by its members.
The Confederation of Cooperative Housing – defines this as:
- A co-operative housing scheme has a community membership. Those who live in the homes they develop are encouraged to become members.
- This membership holds meetings to control the co-operative.
Co-operative housing organisations:
- may own and/or manage their homes
- can be small or large
- may have a variety of different ways of achieving their objectives
Co-operatives are not-for-profit and are fair organisations run for and by their members.
They can be large developments where people live together, or a close group of separate homes.
The co-operative motion's values are fixed. They are:
These mean that residents are in control of their housing and manage homes fairly. They are also given security and pay fairer costs.
Self-build housing is housing that has been created from scratch – also known as new-build properties.
The National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA) – defines this as:
- Projects where someone directly organises the design and building of their new home.
This covers many projects. For example, it may include a 'DIY self-build' home, where the head chooses the design they want and does most of the building work themselves.
However, self-build also covers projects in which the head arranges for someone to build their home for them. These are delivered by kit home companies and involves the head finding a plot, making plans for a slab to be built and finding someone to build the house for them.
Many community-led projects are self-builds, as locals often do the organising and some of the building on their own.
This type of housing is more common in Europe and provides more options for meeting housing needs and the needs of locals.
Self-help housing is where empty houses are restored, making opportunities for training and volunteering. This is different to self-build, which involves building new homes.
Many believe this is only an option for cities with high numbers of empty properties. However, there are empty properties across the country that could be brought back into use.
Whichever form of community-led housing you choose to deliver, it is up to the members of the group to choose which group of people it will serve.
Normally, this relates to an area in which people live and work. It is often a council boundary but can also apply to a neighbourhood.
Although it is important to develop new homes for local people, it is also important to make these homes affordable for these locals.
To offer housing that is affordable to those who cannot pay market values, there must be some form of discount on offer.
This is often free land, buildings, grants from governments, donations or income from developing homes for sale or rent.
If you want to start a CLT, its legal 'asset lock' keeps local control over future costs to residents as well as how that asset is used over time.
Homes can be provided to meet a range of needs, including those of single people, families and older people.
Many projects also create indirect benefits to communities. For example, an older person downsizing to a smaller home frees up a larger home for families.
Projects can offer a range of housing for rent and part-ownership that focuses on local housing needs.
In cohousing schemes, households have their own homes as well as shared community spaces.
Households living in cooperative housing may rent or own and manage their homes.
Affordable home self-builders often work as a small group and usually take part in most of the building work.
Another option is homes for rent or sale that involve a 'self-finish' aspect to lower costs.
CLTs forever have control of their assets through a legal 'asset lock'. This means that assets can only be sold or developed if this benefits local people. If a home is sold, the cash earned is protected so that it can be re-invested into something the trust believes will benefit local people.
Other forms of community ownership are more at risk to future law changes, such as the Right to Buy scheme. Most CLTs are not Registered Providers with the Homes and Communities Agency, so are not affected by this scheme.
For CLTs working with Registered Providers, clauses can be included in deals that require the Provider to seek their approval before agreeing to any Right to Buy sales. Also, an agreement can be added to the Deed of Sale of land that makes sure that the land is only used to develop affordable housing.
Land can be acquired in many ways:
- Purchase of land on the open market at or below development market value
- Rural exception site at slightly more than farming value
- Free or cheap land from a local council
- Local charities and trusts' surplus land
- Landowners prepared to sell a small area of land for local benefit
- Land / buildings provided by a developer as part of their planning obligations under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended)
- Both the Local and Neighbourhood Plans can play a key role in finding and buying land for community-led housing projects.
Normally, local land owners are persuaded by the idea of group asset ownership and are happy to support projects that offer direct benefit to locals.
There are many funding sources that can help with set up and planning costs, such as planning and design. Based on the nature of the group and the eligibility guidelines of funders, sources may be:
- National CLT Fund
- Local authority funding, including the Community Housing Fund
- Parish / Town Councils
- Community supporters
There are also a wide range of funding streams for development, depending on the funding needed, the type of group and the sort of homes being developed. These may be:
- Ethical Banks - such as Triodos Bank / Charity Bank
- Local authority funding, including the Community Housing Fund
- Planning gain
- Homes and Communities Agency
- By the local community through share issues, bonds or fundraising projects
For the National CLT Network Jargon Buster – please visit: http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/other-support/jargon-buster
Call us: 01353 860850
Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write to us: Eastern Community Homes, c/o Cambridgeshire ACRE, e-space North, 181 Wisbech Road, Littleport, Ely, Cambridgeshire, CB6 1RA