By working closely with our partners, owners, landlords and tenants we can improve the condition of homes and bring empty properties back into use which has the knock on effect of helping to build safer and stronger communities.
After 30 years of neglect and failed regeneration plans, the few remaining residents of the Granby Four Streets (in Toxteth, Liverpool) have taken the future of their neighbourhood into their own hands: they’ve established a community land trust, taken ownership of the derelict properties from the council, and will have the first 10 homes refurbished by March.
Read more in The Guardian, 27 November 2014
Over the last two years great strides have been made in putting community-led self-help housing back on the map. Jon Fitzmaurice, who set up self-help-housing.org, writes about some of the new housing organisations that are taking on empty properties and helping re-build communities. The article includes plenty of examples. Read more in New Start, 6 November 2014
This post was originally written to share some of the lessons learned during a study visit by residents of Big Local areas to Leigh West to explore local strategies to improve housing. We are publishing it here partly because we think it might be of wider interest, but also because it is quite long. A shorter version will be published on the Local Trust web site. The study visit was organised by NANM as part of our support for networking and learning between Big Local areas. You can find out more about Big Local by visiting the Local Trust web site.
On the 24 and 25 February 2014, 13 people from six Big Local areas travelled to Leigh West to take part in the Improving housing – Big Local study visit. It was a fascinating visit during which we were shown around the local area by residents of Leigh West Big Local (Leigh Neighbours), heard from Wigan Housing Solutions, a local social enterprise lettings agency working in the area, as well as from Lancashire Community Finance about their approach to low cost home improvement finance, and North Huyton Communities Future about how they are using national Empty Homes funding to renovate empty homes to rent to families in need. We were also taken through the process of developing a neighbourhood plan by Urban Vision, an architecture and built environment centre, and heard from an architect at the URBED cooperative about a couple of community-led housing projects in Liverpool. You can see slides from most of the presentations on the NANM SlideShare site, along with some photos and video on the Local Trust Flickr and YouTube channels.
But what was really noticeable was how all of the areas present identified problems in the private rented sector as a barrier to improving housing in their communities. It is this common experience that I want to focus on in this blog post.
Hannah Fearn editor of the Guardian housing network, suggests that the housing sector should welcome Nick Clegg’s plans to help councils borrow money to develop new homes and kickstart regeneration projects, following a similar model used within the US where Tax increment financing has already been successful. Read more
Photo by Jcolman