New research setting out community led housing’s high value for money delivery boosts the case for the Community Housing Fund to be renewed.
Community led housing can deliver much-needed additional housing that meets local housing need, is affordable to those on lower incomes and delivers wider wellbeing benefits that provide a net positive to society — new independent research by Capital Economics shows.
The evidence confirms that community led housing delivers significant economic, social and environmental benefits which equate to medium to high value for money for public funding. This calculation is based on the Green Book Framework, which HM Treasury developed to evaluate the value for money of spending proposals.
Developed from a combination of existing data, interviews and a survey of community led housing groups, the results show that over a ten-year horizon each £1 of public support delivers £1.80 of benefit, rising to £2.70 when health and benefit savings, wellbeing and income distribution are factored in.
Community led housing are schemes delivered by local communities for local communities.
The growing sector provides much-needed additional housing for those with lower incomes. Over 80% of community led homes in the development pipeline are planned to be for rent at below-market rates.
In the majority of cases, these are homes that would not otherwise be built. Community led housing groups are willing to take on difficult sites that mainstream providers deem unviable. Driven by local residents, their knowledge and ability to generate community consent is also a benefit. 10% of groups have developed sites which local opposition had previously prevented.
Community led housing groups are also special in the way they can unlock land for housing. The survey established that 80% of sites are acquired at below-market prices and close to 40% are acquired for free or at a token price.
There are broader benefits to this type of housing too. The estimated health and social care cost savings from reduced overcrowding, reduced hazard risk and improved outcomes for older people equate to around £560 per home per year.
The National Community Land Trust Network, which commissioned the research, is urging the government to announce a five-year renewal of the Community Housing Fund totalling £180m, in its upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review so that communities can deliver high quality and beautiful homes at prices ordinary people can afford across the country.
Catherine Harrington, joint chief executive of the National CLT Network, said:
“Community led housing is special in the way it can unlock new housing. Driven by the motivation to address the shortage of affordable housing, groups up and down the country are making use of land that would otherwise be left undeveloped and are generating significant public support for their plans too.”
“The government’s Community Housing Fund has been an overwhelming success. It has created a pipeline of thousands of community led homes. But where it was only open for 18 months many of these projects are now stuck. There are 10,780 homes ready and waiting to be built, most of which will serve the government’s levelling up agenda and boost local economies.”
“It is time for the country to build, build, build. And it’s time for the government to show its commitment to the community led housing sector.”
For more information please contact Beth Boorman, communications manager at the National CLT Network, at bethcommunitylandtrusts.org.uk or 07731 570748
- The full report Housing by the community, for the community – An assessment of the value for money of community led housing in England is available to read now.
- The research was commissioned by the National CLT Network, funded by the Nationwide Foundation and Power to Change and conducted independently by Capital Economics.
- The research was launched online on Tuesday 15 September (11am) to an audience of MPs, Lords, government officials and other stakeholders. Key speakers at the event included the Minister of State for Housing, the Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP and Danny Kruger MP who was recently asked by the Prime Minister to lead a review into how to sustain the significant community response to Covid-19.
- Community led housing is a way that people and communities can come together to solve their own housing issues and provide high quality and affordable homes. The homes are owned by the community and managed in the way they want.