Self-help housing project

In July 2009, a new website and national initiative Self-Help-Housing was launched. It shows how, with the right knowledge, people working together can legally borrow empty properties from their owners and return them to use.

This is a valuable resource providing people with the opportunity to learn practical ‘on the job’ building skills and also how to run an organisation, how to secure funding and how to negotiate with owners, local government officials and other agencies.

Self help housing groups negotiate with the owners of empty properties for their use and then go on to organise whatever repairs are necessary to make them habitable. These are normally groups of people who can’t afford to buy their own housing and whose housing needs are such that they will not be offered a permanent tenancy by the local authority or a housing association ( e.g. all sorts of single people, couples, young people, refugees etc).

The website provides people with the tools to take on and make use of the increasing number of empty properties in our cities, towns and villages It’s the first time that this range of information has been brought together in one place where it can be accessed by anyone.

The site provides everything people need to know:

  • how to get organised
  • how to get hold of and borrow empty properties from their owners
  • where to go for funding *
  • how to organise any necessary repairs
  • how to use volunteers
  • how to turn renovating properties into a training opportunity.
  • plus a bank of specimen documents.

It also provides many useful contacts to enable you to find out what other people have done and achieved:

  • case studies highlighting different types of successful projects
  • a directory of projects already involved in self help housing and
  • links to other organisations and websites

Published: 24 August 2009

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