Community led housing allows a local people to have a meaningful impact in the health and wellbeing of individuals in their community, and the wider community as a whole. Within any community there may be a need for homes for those keyworkers and volunteers we have been reliant on to keep our communities going throughout the Covid-19 lockdown. Community led housing involves meaningful community engagement and widespread community support and the community needs to be empowered with a common vision and shared values; enabling keyworkers and volunteers to access decent, stable, affordable homes may be something your community is considering.
Looking back over the last six months it is clear how important a strong community is when dealing with a crisis. The effects of the restrictions in place during the Covid-19 pandemic so far have shown the importance of community relationships and how a network of volunteers brings resilience to their community. The Wiltshire Covid-19 Community Groups Directory shows that there are in excess of 300 community groups providing support across Wiltshire, some of which formed as a direct response to the pandemic. These networks of volunteers have provided vulnerable people in their communities with support to access food, medicine and to beat isolation.
Affordable, Secure, Good Quality Homes
The respect that has been shown for carers, NHS workers, food retail staff and other keyworkers shows how much the people working in these, often low paid, roles mean to our communities. Access to housing that is affordable can be challenging for those on a low wage and many communities in Wiltshire and Swindon do not have an adequate supply of homes that are stable, affordable, and to a decent standard. Many households are sharing with older generations of their family, unable to move out into independent accommodation. It may be that a family member needs support due to accessibility issues as a result of their accommodation not being suitable for their needs, and so is sharing a home with a family member or carer. Others will be living in homes that are too small for their growing families, or they may be in poor quality homes that do not meet basic standards in terms of space and/or condition.
Access to outdoor space close to home, and adequate space within the home, has not been available for many throughout this lockdown. This has restricted their level of physical activity and prevented much needed relief from the confinement of their homes. Many families in Wiltshire and Swindon do not have access to sufficient outdoor space for children to play and adults to socialise, relax or exercise in.
Many individuals have had turn their home into a live-work space. This can have challenges in terms of being in the same space most of the day, or not getting the social interaction that wok can bring. The challenge of sharing space other family members who are not working (such as children home from school) arise whilst parents and carers try and continue to work in the same home.
Community Led Housing – A Solution?
Community led housing can deliver homes that are well designed and affordable, both in terms of rent/purchase price and energy consumption and that offer security of tenure; mitigating some or all of the issues raised above. The process of community led housing, together with the scheme design, can strengthen a community and create a support network. The delivery of the homes may even play a part in employment of local people, directly through the construction process and indirectly by contributing to the demand for local shop and services.
If you would like to find out more about how to get involved with community led housing in Wiltshire and Swindon please have a look at our website and if you would like get in touch with Homes of Our Own you can do so by visiting our Contact Us page.