Bristol and Leeds to share in new £1 million Community Housing Programme

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Targeted investment as the government concedes housing market is 'broken'
7 Feb, 2017

Community-led housing in two major English cities is set to get a boost, thanks to targeted investment from the independent trust Power to Change

 Local housing projects in Bristol and Leeds can get help from a new funding programme, on the day the government announced that the housing market was ‘broken’.  The initiative was announced today by Power to Change and welcomed by Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees.

Bristol and Leeds will be the first cities to benefit from the £1m funding programme, which kicks off this month and will invest in support for community-led groups in the early stages of work to build new homes.

One aim of the fund is to close the ‘affordability gap’ and protect key workers and families from being priced-out of their own communities. It aims to help local people to build more housing affordable for people to buy and rent, in two cities facing some of the greatest housing pressures.

Last year there were nearly 10,000 people on Bristol City Council’s housing waiting list, according to reports, and nearly 25,000 in Leeds. One December 2016 survey found house prices rising by over 9% in a year in Bristol, the highest rise anywhere in the country, and by nearly 5% in Leeds.

Research shows that many community-led housing projects fail in the early stages. The Community Housing Programme will support local groups to move from a big idea to getting the first spade in the ground.

Elizabeth Corrado, Director of Market Development at Power to Change, said:

More and more people across the country are thinking about what they can do to help their communities.

 Providing housing is one of the biggest challenges we face and can be a complex process, which is why we are looking forward to helping groups in Bristol and Leeds to get their ideas off the ground.

 This can be the toughest part of all, but with some smart funding we know communities can take ownership of building better homes that will meet their local needs in the long term’.

Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol, said:

Building housing, especially affordable housing, is one of our key priorities, and we have committed to building 2,000 new homes a year – 800 of them affordable – by the year 2020.

Building these homes is a complex challenge and not something we can do alone, so community-led housing is vital if we are going to achieve our ambitions and meet local housing need and create balanced communities. It is not just about numbers, but also about the quality of the communities we are creating.

This funding will help unleash the talent in the city and give local communities the ability to have more say over local housing.

One such project is already underway in Glencoyne Square in Southmead, where the Southmead Development Trust is looking to build around 200 houses on council-owned land to revitalise the neighbourhood.

I look forward to working with Power for Change to help make a real difference within the city’.