House prices are spiralling, home ownership is at 1980s levels and young people are the least able to get on the property ladder.
Leeds Community Homes aims to help address the housing crisis by buying and building 1,000 affordable homes in Leeds city centre over the next ten years.
"It's important that as citizens we take back control of meeting one of our most basic human needs: shelter.” Rob Greenland, Leeds Community Homes
In contrast to large developers, the organisation is owned, run and financed by the local community. It raised an initial round of capital through a ‘community share offer’, with 270 people together investing £360,000 in the organisation and becoming co-owners, allowing it to purchase its first 16 flats.
Half of these will be let as affordable housing to people on Leeds City Council’s housing waiting list. The remainder will be sold at approximately 60% of the market rate to people who can demonstrate that they can afford a mortgage, but whose household income would be insufficient for purchasing the flat at open market value.
Crucially, Leeds Community Homes will retain long-term ownership of the land and homes it acquires through a ‘community land trust’, meaning that the housing will be affordable in perpetuity.
“There has been lots of talk lately about how to tackle the housing crisis,” says Rob Greenland, one of the founders of Leeds Community Homes, “but the solutions are nearly always top-down, not community-led. We plan to create housing ourselves – by buying land, building homes, partnering with developers and renovating empty properties.
“There’s no end of work that needs doing to fix our broken housing market and people power isn't going to solve all our problems. But, in the spirit of the times, we believe it's important that as citizens we take back control of meeting one of our most basic human needs: shelter.”
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