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Mayor boosts community-led housing to build more affordable homes

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, on Monday 24th April, set out plans for a £250,000 boost to set up the first-ever one-stop shop to help Londoners build their own genuinely affordable homes in the capital.

The Homes for Londoners Community Housing Hub will offer support to Londoners and community groups who want to build homes in the capital themselves. From this summer, the hub will offer advice including how to access funding and unlock land, as well as offering technical support for projects and a base for information sharing.

City Hall has been working with those involved with community-led housing since last summer to identify both barriers and opportunities to grow. A key move has been the creation of a hub to support community groups and independent builders to grow and deliver the genuinely affordable housing that Londoners needs.

The plan for the hub comes as the Mayor has agreed to invest £500,000 to deliver 22 custom-built new and permanently affordable homes for first-time buyers across three sites in Enfield. The project will be delivered by Naked House – a group of Londoners who strip developments back to their bare essentials allowing communities to design and shape the homes they live in. This is the first time a community-led housing group has received funding from City Hall.

There is potential for Naked House to deliver across a further seven sites in the future and the programme is set to be the largest custom-build development in London. It is anticipated building will start in early 2019, with the homes finished and ready to move into by early 2020.

The Mayor believes community-led housing is another component in tackling the housing crisis in the capital and the grant to Naked House is just a first step of many he is making to further boost the community building industry. He has also made available £3.1m of loan funding to support building and wants to support other community groups through his innovation fund.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London desperately needs more homes and it’s vitally important we look at all possible ways of building new and genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.

“Community-led housing offers the chance to build new homes Londoners that want to live in. Londoners should be able to play a leading role in building their own communities, but for too long this has been difficult and they have had no support or access to funding.

“That’s why my new Homes for Londoners Community Housing Hub will act as a one-stop shop for Londoners interested in getting involved in community-led housing. It will help strengthen capacity amongst Londoners to embark on new projects, as well as offering support including technical expertise and access to funding. I’m also delighted Naked House is the first group to receive funding and I look forward to seeing more communities across our great city working together to build new and genuinely affordable homes to rent and buy.”         

Calum Green, Co-Director of London Community Land Trust, said: “Community-led housing is a great way to provide the genuinely and permanently affordable homes that London needs. Londoners are more inclined to back the building of new homes in our neighbourhood when we play a meaningful role in deciding where those homes go, who should live in them and what they should look like.

“That is why we welcome the Mayor’s new Homes for Londoners Community Housing Hub, which will provide a much-needed boost in technical expertise and resources for the people of London to help solve this city’s housing crisis together.”

Simon Chouffot, co-founder of Naked House, said: “We’re excited to begin work on our 22 home scheme in Enfield - all of which will be 100 per cent affordable for those on modest incomes, with local residents given priority.

“We want to put people back at the centre of house building - creating well-designed but pared-back homes that residents can adapt and change to suit their needs.

"Support from the GLA has been crucial - ensuring homes are genuinely affordable for those currently priced out of the communities in which they’ve put down roots. We hope this project is the first step towards a new type of housing that will help thousands of Londoners."

London Assembly member, Tom Copley, said: “I very much welcome the Mayor taking the lead by offering a real boost to community-led housing in London, as it’s something we have been keen to support in the London Assembly. The new hub is great news for all those Londoners who want to be involved in building new homes themselves, and who would benefit from greater support and access to resources. I first met Naked House several years ago and I was impressed by what they want to achieve, and so I am also particularly pleased to see the Mayor helping to make their vision a reality.”