Locality gives communities the chance to tackle the housing crisis by helping them to build their own homes

A new programme to help communities tackle the housing crisis by building their own homes has been launched by Locality, using funding from the Nationwide Foundation.

The Early Stage Support Programme launched on 11 May 2016 will help 22 community groups start up their own community-led housing projects to provide affordable, decent homes for local people.

The housing shortage, rocketing rents and sky-high house prices mean that quality, affordable homes are out of reach for many people in the UK. But all over the country communities are refusing to be beaten by the housing crisis by building their own.

Community-led housing is largely overlooked as a solution to the crisis but it is possible for people to take the matter into their own hands by building affordable small scale developments which suit their needs and the needs of their community.

Now, Locality, using a grant of £160,000 from the Nationwide Foundation, is helping groups take their first steps on the path to creating homes for their local communities, helping to quietly revolutionise housing and ensure decent, truly affordable homes are provided for people who need them.

Locality Chief Executive Tony Armstrong said: "This new programme will help people to take back control of one of the most important issues facing us in the UK today.

"The housing crisis is on everyone's minds as people are priced out of buying their own homes, paying exorbitant rents in the private sector or forced to wait for years on the social housing register.

"But it doesn't have to be like this. Communities can and should be building their own housing and there are already lots of successful community groups building the kinds of homes their area needs. This new programme will help people all over the country become masters of their own destinies and do something provide quality affordable housing for themselves, their families and their communities."

Gary Hartin Programme Manager at the Nationwide Foundation said: "We are firm believers that community-led housing offers a meaningful way to create more genuinely affordable housing. Our ambition is to see it more widely used and acknowledged as a valuable tool to help tackle the desperate shortage of affordable and decent homes. Our grant to Locality will lead to the identification of the most effective ways to make this happen."

The new programme plugs the current gap in funding for groups at the early stage of setting up their projects and will support 22 groups to get started in building homes for their communities.

Locality will use the skills and expertise gathered by groups already operating in the field, build on existing successes and pave the way for other groups to follow.

Community-led housing projects currently make up only one per cent of the housing market but they are attracting increasing interest as they have been shown to have wide ranging benefits, meeting local housing needs as well as raising funds through rental income that can be used to reinvest in more housing or support the wider regeneration of an area.

Recent research by Locality found that groups developing their own small-scale housing, which can be sold to create income for the community, or rented to local people at affordable rates, acts as a lynchpin community activity which leads to many other local benefits.

To apply for the Locality Early Stage Support Programme visit locality.org.uk/projects/communityled-housing/early-stage-support/

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