Tag Archives: Housing Ourselves

What does the new Community Housing Fund mean for the support we offer?

The Government announced a new multimillion pound Community Housing Fund in July this year.

The Fund will be managed by Homes England and will come in two phases: phase one opened on 7 July and will help groups to ‘capacity build’ i.e. cover costs during the planning stages and the second phase will be capital grants to pay for the purchase and refurbishment of homes or the construction costs for new homes.

This means that groups of people who want to set up their own community-led housing projects can now apply to Homes England for the kind of capacity-building and pre-development work that BHCLT has been supporting through our Housing Ourselves grants.

In the light of this opportunity, we have paused the grants offered by our local Community-Led Housing Programme until we see the outcome of local groups’ applications to Homes England. We have decided that this makes sense for BHCLT because the Community Housing Fund is nationally available funding and the more groups that apply from Brighton & Hove, the more investment into community-led housing we have the chance of bringing into the city. If we use our small and finite local pot for the same applications, the support in the city will be short-lived: grants and the advice and support we are able to offer through our staff team would end in Autumn 2018. Our goal is to maximise the support available for community-led housing in the city for as long as possible for all groups (present and future).

We have produced an analysis of the prospectus summarising what local people can apply for and distilling the criteria they will need to meet. It is not that different to the expectations we have of applications to our grant fund: projects need to be ‘community-led’ and be formed as a legitimate community organisation (or on the way to being one), have outline business plans/cases, and financial plans and clarity about what you aim to do and who will live in the homes.

You can apply for very small sums (for example, to incorporate) or much larger sums, if you have a viable financial plan & have secured a viable interest in a property or site. If you need it, members of our team can support you to apply to this fund and we will be running some face to face advice sessions to provide support.

To find out more or get some support with your application to the Community Housing Fund contact our Programme Manager Andrea Jones in the first instance on admin[at]bhclt.org.uk.

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Brighton & Hove shows it’s ready for more community-led housing

Brighton’s Brighthelm Centre was filled with around 200 people on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of the Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme.

With support from Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is supporting local people who want to start their own community-led housing projects, including co-operatives, cohousing and self-build.

Community-led housing allows local people to take control of their housing and create alternatives to the limited choices offered by the current housing market. The new Brighton & Hove Community-Led Housing Programme supports groups of people to come together and organise, or build, their own affordable homes. Applications are open for financial support and free advice to help make people’s ideas a reality.

BHCLT Community-led Housing Programme includes:

  • Housing Ourselves: Financial support through loans or grants to housing groups.
  • Discovering suitable land and properties and helping groups acquire them for housing projects.
  • Connecting local people who want to start their own housing projects and providing them with expertise and support.
  • Raising awareness and building knowledge about housing with local people, the council and others who work in housing.

The event included the opportunity for people involved in community-led housing groups to share their experiences and learn from each other.

Speaking at the event, Councillor Anne Meadows, Chair of the Housing & New Homes Committee and a Labour & Co-operative representative for Moulsecoomb and Bevendean, paid tribute to city’s history of community-led housing: ‘In some respects I feel it’s national thinking that has caught up with Brighton & Hove,’ she said. ‘We have had an innovative and active community-led housing sector for many, many years and the provision of this funding through the DCLG has brought about the creation of this programme, through which we hope that more of the aspirations of this sector can be realised and more housing provided.’

Also speaking at the event was Stephen Hill, Director at C2O futureplanners and a key player in community-led housing nationally. ‘Communities are spending huge amounts of their time trying to put together housing projects that nobody else will,’ he said. ‘The fact that people like you are here today is some kind of witness to the fact that policy and the market has failed so many people.’

The audience also hear directly from someone involved in a local success story, Martyn Holmes of Bunker Self-Build Housing Co-op. He told the story of Bunker’s beginnings – two neighbours chatting over the garden fence, both living in private rented housing that they were struggling to afford and fed up with their housing situation. Along with their families, they are soon to start work on two modular houses in Brighton, making use of a small and difficult site that a big developer wouldn’t be attracted to.

For Bunker, part of the reason for choosing a self-build project was the money they would save. Martyn explained that group self-build schemes can result in cost savings of up to 40% or more.

Community-led housing is good for Brighton & Hove because:

  • It provides additional affordable and stable housing to those in need.
  • It creates and demonstrates alternative ways of living which have a positive impact on wellbeing.
  • It helps local people develop new skills as they make their projects a reality.
  • It encourages collaboration and co-operative between local people and involves them in decisions about new housing.
  • People have more say in how their homes are developed and managed.
  • It creates an opportunity to make use of empty buildings and vacant land, revitalising communities.

BHCLT is working with Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH) and Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) to deliver the Community-Led Housing Programme.

For more information contact Amy Hall and Ed Jones, Communications Officers with BHCLT on comms@bhclt.org.uk

Notes for editors

  1. Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) is a non-profit community-led organisation working to put housing development back in the hands of people who need it. It is one of over 225 Community Land Trusts (CLTs) in England and Wales. Find out more at: https://bhclt.org.uk/
  2. A national Community Housing Fund of £60 million has been shared between almost 150 councils to help tackle the problem of high levels of second home ownership in their communities. Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) was allocated £464,500 and the fund was in turn, awarded to BHCLT, which is acting as the lead partner in this programme of work, alongside CHIBAH and MAIS.
  3. Community Land Trusts have developed over 700 permanently affordable units and will have developed a further 3,000 by 2020. Find out more at the National CLT Network website: http://www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk/
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Want to know what we’re up to? Join us to launch the Community-Led Housing Programme

Find out more about how we can work together to create more affordable and community-led housing in Brighton and Hove.

Join us at the Brighthelm Centre on Wednesday 21 February for the launch of the Brighton and Hove Community-Led Housing Programme, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC).

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Community-led housing is a way to create more genuinely affordable and secure homes, allowing local people to create alternatives that are community focused and take power back from the hands of developers, letting agencies and a housing market that many feel is out of control.

At the FREE launch event there will be the opportunity to:

  • Find out more about what community-led housing is and why it could be a good option for you.
  • Hear about exciting examples of community-led housing right here in Brighton and Hove.
  • Meet other people who want to start their own housing projects.
  • Find out more about Housing Ourselves: grants of £1,000 up to £50,000 available to housing groups.
  • Learn about how the Programme can connect you with experts, or how your expertise could be useful to a community-led housing group.
  • Ask us questions, including advice on Housing Ourselves grant applications.
  • Let us know what ideas you have for community-led housing in Brighton and Hove and what support you need to make them happen.

The event will take place on Wednesday 21 February, 5.30-9.00pm (Registration from 5:15pm) in the Auditorium, Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1YD. Food will be provided at the start of the event.

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Find out more about the Community-Led Housing Programme, and what support is available here at our website.

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Financial support available for housing groups

As part of our work to bring more community-led housing to the city, we now have Housing Ourselves financial support available to groups working to get new projects off the ground.

Housing Ourselves grants and support is supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund. The aim is to help local groups to develop their own community-led housing solutions. Grants are available from £1,000 up to £50,000, depending on how far your housing group has progressed (more details below and in the full guidelines for applicants). Community-led housing options which are supported include Community Land Trusts, housing co-operatives, cohousing communities and community self-build.

Grants and support is available to community-led housing groups at any stage of their journey, especially pre-construction or pre-purchase stages of housing projects. and are designed to help people:

  • Overcome the obstacles they currently face in getting their project off the ground.
  • Gain access to additional funds from other sources to buy, convert or build appropriate properties.
  • Develop their ideas into housing solutions which benefit themselves and others.

The Housing Ourselves programme can also offer free expert support to make community-led housing a reality – not just money. We aim to help groups to, for example, develop their group and their business case, find suitable land or property, and get them ready to secure a mortgage in order to fund the next phase of their project.

The programme can also offer support for free e.g. providing someone with particular expertise to help groups develop their plans; and help to match groups and available land or property.

How to Apply?

To apply for Housing Ourselves support, we ask that groups express an interest by emailing admin@bhclt.org.uk

We ask all groups to go through a pre-application stage which includes meeting with an enabler from the Programme to discuss their plans. Please find the full guidelines for applicants here.

Read more about Housing Ourselves and the application criteria here


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