Self Help Housing
“Self-Help Housing” involves groups of local people bringing back into use empty properties that are in limbo, awaiting decisions about their future use or their redevelopment. It differs from “self-build housing”, which involves constructing permanent homes from scratch.
Self help housing groups negotiate with the owners of empty properties for their use and then go on to organise whatever repairs are necessary to make them habitable. These are normally groups of people who can’t afford to buy their own housing and whose housing needs are such that they will not be offered a permanent tenancy by the local authority or a housing association ( eg all sorts of single people, couples, young people, refugees etc).
The properties are often “borrowed” on the basis of a licence or sometimes a lease, for a specified period of time. On occasion, future plans change and the buildings may even become available on a permanent basis.
Self-Help Housing Is A “Win-Win” Activity!
• Making Use of Wasted Buildings:
Self-Help Housing utilises empty or redundant buildings which owners are willing to make available for a limited period on licence or lease, often at minimal cost. .
• A Source Of Housing or Community Facilities:
Self-Help Housing is a source of economical and affordable housing, or community facilities, for people who might otherwise be homeless or have to share accommodation.
• Improving Neighbourhoods:
By reducing the number of empty and void buildings in a neighbourhood Self-Help Housing contributes to raising the overall quality of a neighbourhood
• Engaging And Empowering People:
Self-Help Housing enables people, to take responsibility for securing their own housing or developing their own community facilities. It turns people into active citizens.
• Supporting Social Enterprise:
In addition to providing affordable housing and community facilities, self-help projects can sometimes generate cheap work space for start-up businesses and social enterprises.
• Learning New Skills:
Self Help Housing provides people with an opportunity to learn practical “on the job” building skills and also how to run an organisation, how to secure funding and how to negotiate with owners, local government officials and other agencies.
Self-help-housing.org is the only website dedicated to promoting and supporting self-help housing initiatives.
It provides ordinary people, who are perhaps unable to access mainstream housing or who want to tackle local problems, with the tools to take on and make use of the increasing number of empty properties in our cities, towns and villages It’s the first time that this range of information has been brought together in one place where it can be accessed by anyone.
Many of today’s large housing associations and co-ops were started up forty or fifty years ago by local people with just a couple of properties and so it’s not really a new idea; just one that needs reviving.
The site provides everything you need to know:
- how to get organised
- how to get hold of and borrow empty properties from their owners
- where to go for funding
- how to organise any necessary repairs
- how to use volunteers &
- how to turn renovating properties into a training opportunity.
- plus a bank of specimen documents
It also provides many useful contacts to enable you to find out what other people have done and achieved:
- case studies highlighting different types of successful projects
- a directory of projects already involved in self help housing &
- links to other organisations and websites
“This excellent initiative helps groups of local people create new homes for themselves and their community from wasted property. Nothing could be more right for the times we live in.” David Ireland, CEO, Empty Homes Agency
Canopy – Leeds : http://www.canopyhousingproject.org/
Latch – Leeds : http://www.latch.org.uk/
Giroscope – Hull : http://www.giroscope.co.uk/
Phoenix Housing Co-Op – London : http://self-help-housing.org/case-studies/phoenix-housing-co-operative-london/
Brent Community Housing – London: http://www.bch.coop/index.php?option=com_content§ionid=0&task=view&id=25&Itemid=27