Leeds Community Homes
Creating new solutions to a housing system that is not working for many people
At the very end of 2015 Leeds Community Homes came into being. LEDA’s Jonathan Lindh is a founding director of this new community benefit society whose aim is to facilitate the development of affordable, sustainable and community led housing. It is a bold venture and one that feels it is co-inciding with a new found appetite for ideas for providing quality housing. We have entered an era where fewer people can afford to buy their own homes and existing providers of social housing struggle to increase provision due to a recent series of government measures. We have an underdeveloped private sector that is inconsistent in quality that is not able to meet demand.
On the other hand some very striking new solutions have come into being. Innovative co-housing projects such as Lancaster co-housing and LILAC in Leeds have shown us a radical new way of providing community led, affordable sustainable housing. Other innovative solutions to providing new homes from empty houses have arisen in Leeds due to the combined efforts of LATCH (Leeds Action to Create H
omes), CANOPY Housing Project, GIPSIL and the Empty Homes Doctor. These groups have worked with Leeds City Council’s support to make a big contribution to improving the housing offer in Leeds and also provide an important and often overlooked aspect to creating new homes – that of creating community. People want to live in places where they can feel a strong bond with their local neighbourhood and a supportive community. The recent floods in Leeds show how powerful local communities can be in coping with disasters on their doorstep and make a powerful addition to the local authorities emergency services creaking under funding cuts.
Leeds Community Homes will be working with Leeds City Council, private developers and local housing groups and individuals to hopefully boost provision of the housing that people aspire to and can afford to live in. A share issue will be launched in September this year to fund an initial round of projects involving LATCH, CANOPY and GIPSIL in Leeds.