Community-led housing is where the local community takes the lead in developing, managing and/or owning affordable housing in their own area for the local community.
Community-led housing has five main features:
- It is usually small scale – most schemes are under 20 to 25 homes and some are much smaller.
- Schemes are usually set up and run by local people in their own communities, often with external support from housing associations, local authorities or regional and national support organisations.
- It provides genuinely affordable homes for rent, shared ownership or sale.
- Schemes meet long-term local housing needs, by the community retaining an interest in the homes provided and ensuring they are always available to local people who need them.
- Community-led housing is not for profit, involving considerable voluntary effort.
The Scarborough area has been allocated £1.86 million from the government to support the development of community-led housing. Work is ongoing with a number of local communities and other organisations to bring forward community-led housing initiatives.
How communities can get involved
There are three main ways in which community-led groups can become involved.
A local authority, landowner, housing association or local developer wants to provide housing that incorporates a community-led element. They access technical expertise to recruit founder members from within the community and support them to take over ownership and/or management of the homes. In this scenario, it is essential that all the community-led criteria are met to ensure genuine community benefit and involvement.
Extension of community based activity
Existing community-based organisations with local roots decide to provide housing in addition to their current activities, accessing technical expertise to help them understand this new area of work.
New community-led groups form in response to local housing need, or to deliver their own homes. They sometimes emerge from existing networks such as neighbourhood forums and parish councils. They access technical expertise to support the development and realisation of their ideas.
The criteria for supporting community-led housing is based on the following basic principles:
- A requirement that the community must be integrally involved throughout the process in key decisions. They do not necessarily have to initiate and manage the development process, or build the homes themselves, though some may do.
- A presumption in favour of community groups that are taking a long-term formal role in ownership, management or stewardship of the homes.
- A requirement that the benefits to the local area and / or specified community must be clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.
We have published criteria for the allocation of funding to groups, which includes community development set-up funding, feasibility funding and development funding. You can see the criteria in our community housing fund grant policy (pdf / 73 KB).
We have supported a number of groups with community development set-up funding and feasibility funding to enable them to start working on the development of a community-led housing scheme.