Develop your Group and your Ideas
Who are you and what are you going to do? You can form a group simply by talking to other local people about your ideas. Make sure you are aware of those in your area who you could work with, or whose purposes are in line with your own. You may be able to help each other.
Find out what people think
Find out what people think about new houses being built and explain why this is important by completing a Housing Needs Assessment and holding a public meeting. It may be useful to engage with your Parish Council at this early stage.
To help your Parish Council understand options around Affordable Housing and what you are trying to do, there is a useful guide, produced by the Rural Housing Alliance which includes information about Community Land Trusts.
The Hub can help you
- Identify your housing needs or carry out a Housing Needs Survey
- Organise information for a Business Plan
- Explore options for your group structure
ACRE produces a guide on completing Housing Needs Assessments.
Locality has a housing needs assessment guide for communities developing Neighbourhood Plans which you can also use as a guide for a community led housing project.
The National Community Land Trust Network provides useful guidance on what to consider if you decide to become a Community Land Trust.
There are some important things to understand early-on so that you make choices at this early stage which fit with your project aspirations and financial undertakings further down the road.
You will be working out what sort of homes you want to build and how many; who they are for and whether they are for rent or sale; if you want to manage the build and ongoing maintenance or work with someone else to do this, for instance a Housing Association.
If you enter into a partnership with a Housing Association they could build the homes, find the tenants and manage the properties. They can do as much or as little of this as you decide.
These are big decisions
These are big decisions. Making the best choices early on will set you off in the right direction. Please contact the Hub when you would like some help exploring these options. Some further hints, tips and questions are included here to help you think this through.
Once you have enough people interested in your group, it needs to be a legally recognised body before it can make any commitments or draw down any funding. There may already be a community organisation locally that can be expanded and be responsible for the project. If so, you need to know if the existing constitution is acceptable. Does housing fall within its existing remit? If not, it may be necessary for the constitution to be amended.
The homes may be for a group wanting to develop cheaper affordable homes for themselves. This may involve managing the scheme or even helping to build the houses. You may want to provide affordable homes for local people who can't afford homes in the area because of high prices or because they are in lower paid work.
The number and type of homes will be dependent on the result of your housing needs survey and may be limited by the sites or land available.
You may be able to fund your scheme through grants, loans or a mixture of both. Generally, you may need to become a charity to qualify for grant funding. You also might think about linking with a Housing Association or even become one so that you can access Affordable Housing Grant through Homes England.
Your group will need to be legally formed before you can apply for a mortgage or loan. There are many potential funding sources to help you form a group including possible grants from your Council and Charitable bodies.
For help getting organised contact the Hub.