Saturday, 20 September 2014

Barriers hold back self-help housing groups

Groups that renovate empty homes for homeless people are being held back by lack of funding and access to properties, a report has found.

The report from charity Crisis, produced by the Third Sector Research Centre, looks at self-help housing. This usually involves groups of local people, often social enterprises, which source and renovate derelict properties for homeless people.

It found the groups were finding it difficult to secure empty properties to renovate and sufficient income to deliver the projects. Social landlords have also been unwilling to release properties because of rising demand for housing.

Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: ‘Self-help housing organisations perfectly complement the coalition’s vision for a big society. Local organisations helping local people not only find a home, but the skills and qualifications to move on with their lives.

‘Our research shows that there is real potential to help more people in this way, but for two significant barriers: lack of funding and lack of empty properties.’

She urged central and local government to address these issues.

The research says local authorities and housing associations could address these issues by offering derelict properties to self-help housing organisations directly. However, the report also recognises most empty properties are privately owned and suggests larger third sector organisations could buy privately owned properties and link with social enterprises to renovate them.

According to the Homes and Communities Agency there were an estimated 784,000 vacant homes in England in September 2009, most of which were in the private sector.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Sidney Webb

    Such projects are following the spoken direction of Shapps, the claimed position of Cameron, and meet the value for money demanded by the New Order in Government. Why is it not a suprise then that neither Shapps, Cameron, or any from Millionaires Row are doing anything to prevent their policies being a barrier to recovering derilict homes and enabling people to get a start in life thorugh skills and accomodation.

    Where is Shapps with his motor mouth proclaimation of 'hoping the project goes forwards', or Cameron with his tax-payer wad promising to consider a few shekels for the project, or the Cabinet blaming the weather for the failing.

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  • Rick Campbell

    Perhaps the self-help housing people could help themselves to the forests now they may not be sold off.

    Maybe the "celebrities" who were so vociferous about saving the forests would be raising their voices about that too.

    After all, as there is no beneficial publicity in supporting tenants, they might as well demonise them like the government (and certain other creatures) does, so slagging off tenants might appeal to them?

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  • tenants are the whipping boys of everybody else who is not a tenant in social housing. It's gone on since thatcher.

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