Report sheds light on community-led solutions to housing crisis

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A new report has revealed how community-led housing has the potential to generate a wealth of benefits amidst the housing crisis

The Housing Futures study, published 8 December, makes a series of recommendations to maximise the potential of community-led housing and ensure it can contribute towards achieving a more progressive, democratic and inclusive housing system.

Community-led housing schemes allow people and communities to play a leading role in addressing their own housing needs, with benefits including:

  • Positive neighbourhood outcomes for health and social wellbeing, environmental sustainability and skills and employment.
  • Protecting communities against gentrification-induced displacement.
  • Keeping income within community-led organisations and reinvesting it for community use, rather than extracted as shareholder profit.
  • Opening up the housing system.

The report by Housing Futures – a research partnership uniting academics from the University of Sheffield’s Urban Institute and members of the Greater Manchester co-operative and housing movement – explores what community-led housing may have to offer low-income urban neighbourhoods within the Greater Manchester city region.

Dr Sophie King, from the University of Sheffield’s Urban Institute, said: “Community-led housing has strong potential to contribute towards addressing some of the failures of the current housing system. By rejecting the private right to profit, community-led groups can exert local democratic control over their housing circumstances, enabling residents to directly shape their neighbourhoods.

“The sector requires appropriate levels of support to meet its potential, and to find ways to scale upwards and outwards while retaining autonomy and independence.”

The report – Housing Futures: What can community-led housing achieve for Greater Manchester? – found that community-led housing is more likely to generate positive social welfare and democratic gains when communities take a leadership role from the beginning of schemes and are properly involved in their implementation and governance.

Housing Futures: Community-led Alternatives for Greater Manchester has been made possible through the Realising Just Cities programme at the Urban Institute, University of Sheffield, which has been funded by the Mistra Urban Futures centre.

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