George Young

Senior Media Relations Officer

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21 January 2019

Community groups should be given access to affordable land and early stage funding to help them provide much needed homes in local areas, according to a new report.

The Helping Communities Build report by two leading academics and commissioned by an international charity looks at pioneering community-led housing schemes run by Community Land Trusts (CLTs), supported by social investment and philanthropic capital. These allow local people to manage and create housing projects for their own communities. This means that new properties are built with the specific needs of local communities in mind, with a particular focus on affordable housing.

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The report is authored by Dr. Tom Archer and Dr. Stephen Green, both Research Fellows at Sheffield Hallam University specialising in housing development, with assistance from Charlie Fisher of the architecture practice Transition by Design. The Charities Aid Foundation commissioned the research; its social investment arm CAF Venturesome has provided finance to CLT schemes through 57 investments to 33 individual groups around the country since 2008.

Only 826 affordable homes have been built in England and Wales via these schemes to date; however at the time of writing, there are 5,810 community-led homes in the pipeline in England.

The report’s authors are confident that community-led housing could achieve much more if two obstacles in its path were removed: giving community groups access to affordable land and providing finance at an early, pre-development stage. In order to do this, the report advocates several measures including reducing interest rates – particularly on pre-development loans – as well as creating a range of financial products that enable groups to plan and operate effectively.

Commenting on the report, Holly Piper, Head of CAF Venturesome adds:

“Community-led housing schemes such as Community Land Trusts must be taken seriously as a vital component in addressing this country’s shortage of housing. With the right support, such as access to affordable land and early stage finance, these are social investments that could use philanthropic capital to help fix a huge problem in our society.”

“The British housing crisis is a complex problem and requires a broad range of solutions if it’s to be fixed. But this is one way to keep up with housing demand and meet the housing needs in communities which otherwise would be damaged by a lack of affordable homes.”

The Helping Communities Build report comes just a fortnight after the announcement from a cross-party commission that the Government must launch the biggest council and social house building initiative on record.

More than three million homes must be built in the next 20 years, according to a year-long commission featuring former Labour Party leader Ed Miliband and the former Conservative Treasury minister and Goldman Sachs Chief Economist, Lord Jim O’Neill.

Currently, only 6,000 social homes are built each year in England.

Notes to editors

CAF exists to make giving go further, so that more lives and communities around the world can be transformed.

CAF is a charity and a champion for better giving, and for over 90 years has helped donors, companies, charities and social organisations make a bigger impact. CAF Venturesome is an impact focused social investment fund supporting social enterprises and charities to sustain and grow their impact. Since 2002, it has made over 580 social investments totalling £48m+.

We are CAF and we make giving count.

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