Communities tackling the housing crisis
With 85,000 households (including 126,000 children) in England living in unsustainable accommodation, the housing crisis has never been starker. To meet the demand for housing, the National Housing Federation estimates that 145,000 new social homes are needed every year, including 90,000 at below-market rent. But in 2018 only 6,000 social rented homes were built, that’s barely 4% of the need. Cities who thought that they were about to eradicate homelessness back in 2010, have seen the number of rough sleepers rise by more than double, and that’s not counting the ‘’hidden homeless’’ squatting on friends’ or families’ sofas.
There is no time to waste to address this crisis and communities are increasingly taking the matter into their own hands.
Many choose to create a Community Land Trust (CLT), a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes or other assets. CLTs are charitable organisations (often set up as community benefit societies) that act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring homes are genuinely affordable and remain affordable, forever.
Over the years CLTs have really flourished, from 16 CLTs 10 years ago to now over 300 across the country. A study by Power to Change and Locality conducted 3 years ago suggested that 5,500 community led homes were in the pipeline. Research data collected by Homes England in July this year, revealed that there are now more than 16,000 community-led homes in the pipeline. The sector as a whole has effectively tripled its ambition in the last few years.
Helping communities build quality affordable homes
At CAF, we have supported these groups for over 10 years, through our CLT I and II Funds. To date, we have made 66 social investments totalling over £5.6m to 37 CLTs. 190 new affordable homes have been built to date, with a further 470 affordable homes at the planning or construction – totalling over 660 new affordable homes.
These homes – like the Norwich council houses recently awarded the prestigious Stirling Architecture Price – are of high quality, eco-friendly with sustainability at its core and designed by and for the communities.
But this is about more than construction. Community-led housing schemes enrich communities and breathe new life into areas by offering affordable homes to those who’d otherwise be priced out.
For example, our CLT Funds recently invested in a scheme in St. Ives, Cornwall. The scheme will build six houses in the centre of a town where 80% of properties are second homes, leaving little affordable accommodation for local people (such as hospitality workers) but also little footfall for the local shops, local school, etc. all year round. In London, we’ve supported CLTs aiming to provide affordable accommodation to teachers, nurses, charity workers and others who currently spend up to 70% of their income on rent.
More broadly, we believe community-led housing schemes empower people and can strengthen community resilience, combat loneliness, create support networks and develop new skills.
What next? Launching our CLH Fund
We believe there is immense value in patient, flexible finance, made possible by philanthropic capital and provided alongside expert support.
A recent report we commissioned, Helping Communities Build, highlights that community led housing schemes are being held back by two things: access to aﬀordable land and access to finance at pre-development stage. We are relentlessly exploring innovative ways to address these barriers, and in particular to provide additional finance to community-led housing groups at early stages. For instance, this year – thanks to support from Power to Change – we have offered grants alongside our loans for pre-development.
We plan to launch a successor Fund to our CLT Funds, the Community Led Housing Fund (CLH Fund) to support CLTs and other forms of community-led housing (such as housing co-operatives, co-housing schemes, etc.
We aim that the fund will support 50 new community-led housing schemes to develop and build 1,000 affordable homes for 2,500 people to live in. We already have a strong pipeline of interest from community-led housing schemes all over England.
The Fund is currently at £2.2m and we hope it will grow up to £5m. If you would like to find out how we can support your community-led housing scheme, or are a philanthropist interested in supporting the Fund, please do get in touch.
Help us continue to support communities taking on the housing crisis!
You can get in contact with Anne-Helene Sinha via email at email@example.com by telephone on 03000 123 300 or by visiting www.cafonline.org
To view the latest Community Land Trust investment opportunities on Ethex click here.