Self-help housing success brings empty properties back to life

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Academics from the University of Birmingham have mapped the success of self-help housing organisations that are utilising community grants designed to bring empty properties back to life.

Prof David Mullins and his team have quantified the remarkable achievements of the self-help housing sector in the North East and Yorkshire & Humberside where 30 locally based organisations brought 750 empty properties back into use for over 1,500 residents with funding from the DCLG’s £50m Empty Homes Community Grants Programme (EHCGP).

By acquiring assets for themselves, a number of self-help organisations in this region have enhanced their sustainability through cash flow and balance sheet security. This has contributed to the viability of their construction teams through enhanced workflow, and enabled richer and longer-term training experience to be offered to trainees and apprentices. Benefits to tenants, volunteers, the wider community and third parties have been estimated in one case to deliver between £3.24 -£5 of social value for every £ invested.

“Prof.Mullins’ research demonstrates the way in which small local community based organisations can capitalise on their local knowledge and enterprise to rescue empty buildings, which can not only provide housing, but also opportunities for training and employment while helping to revitalise the surrounding area. What’s now needed is some more  capital funding from government for a further programme.” said Jon Fitzmaurice, from Self Help Housing

The Report makes five recommendations: designed to promote the legacy of EHCGP and the future sustainability of the sector .

1. Extract Key Learning From Case Studies: Undertake research to inform sector legacy work by extracting key learning from these case studies and building on the scenarios above to support future sector sustainability.

2. Maintain Regional Networks: Continue to share learning within the sector through support for SHHO and regional networks such as Leeds, Hull and Tees Valley

3. Introduce New Public  Grants Programme: Introduce a new public grants programme particularly targeted on smaller community based and new entrants and on achieving social value.

4. Expand the role of Social Investors & Charitable Foundations: Continue to expand contribution of social investors and charitable foundations to supplement grant and commercial loan income.

5. Facilitate New Entrants Into Empty Homes Work: Seek new entrants from local community anchor and other social enterprise type organisations able to contribute to and capable of benefiting from empty homes work.

Read The Full Report Here:

'Building a Legacy: The Impact of Empty Homes Community Grants Programme in the North East and Yorkshire and Humberside

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