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Brighton & Hove CLT

What they do

BHCLT helps to bring together the different elements fundamental to any community-led housing project. Without the right groups, sites and funding in place, it is impossible to develop viable alternatives in the current housing market.



The People and Groups

BHCLT is a grassroots movement, made up of lots of different community-led housing groups. They work in partnership with groups, based on the level of support that they need, to identify and develop their own housing solutions. BHCLT want to enable projects to happen rather than doing it all themselves because it builds skills, experience, knowledge, power and resources across the city.

 

The people provide the ongoing voluntary contribution required to drive a project forward, both in the initial absence of capital, and over the lifespan of the project. Once the housing is ready, groups move in and share collective control and ownership of the scheme going forward. This includes management of rental income, responsibility for repairs and maintenance (often including some levels of DIY themselves) and decisions over group matters and communal facilities. BHCLT continue to work closely with groups, particularly in the initial years, to ensure good management of the project, any support needs that arise, and to address problems early and together. This ongoing group process and input is part of what makes it possible to maintain affordable rents and makes community-led housing different.


The Sites

 

BHCLT has been supporting community led housing in the city since 2017. They have 15 active groups of people, with property and land purchase being the key issue for nearly all these groups. Land costs are exorbitant in Brighton. BHCLT build relationships with sympathetic owners who are willing to accept the longer time that it takes to develop truly community-led and affordable schemes or consider lower prices for community and social benefit. This includes Brighton & Hove City Council who have identified 10 sites in the city suitable for community-led housing and committed to work with BHCLT to help enable this.

BHCLT also seek out housing alternatives to avoid creating additional pressure on existing housing stock, including empty and disused buildings and properties such as old guest houses, nursing homes and a redundant convent. They are currently applying for planning permission on a property from hotel class to Sui Generis (larger HMO) to house one of their member housing co-operatives. This would contain the proviso that it could only be used in future for affordable housing and the benefit of the community.

 

The Funding

Individual projects are funded through a combination of sources including grant funding, mortgages and ethical lending and community share contribution. For larger schemes, BHCLT look at mixed tenure and shared ownership models to cross-subsidise affordable and social rents. The low-interest, long-term capital that BHCLT raise through their 2020 community share offer provides the initial funding required to secure other lending. For every £1 in community shares, BHCT are able to access £5 in other funding sources. 

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