As we reach the final year of this programme we take a look at our progress.
The focus of the Sustainable Housing for Inclusive and Cohesive Cities (SHICC) is to establish more successful community land trusts (CLTs) in cities across the NWE region that deliver homes that are affordable to those on low and medium incomes, ensuring that these homes are permanently affordable.
The SHICC programme came out of a desire to reduce the barriers to developing CLT homes, which include: a lack of public awareness, an absence of a supportive local, regional or national policy, minimal technical support available to new groups starting out, expensive land prices, a lack of pre-development and affordable capital funding and retail mortgage lending.
At the beginning of the programme we set to achieve four key outputs:
Four successfully established pilot CLTs
A voucher scheme leading to the creation of 33 new urban CLTs
A shared online platform
Market solutions for better and connected lending, and other finance options
So, how are we doing?
Spotlight on the four pilot projects
The SHICC project has allowed CLT Brussels to take two aspects of its work to the next level.
The first aspect is its community work. CLTB aims to strengthen its community and support the empowerment and emancipation of its members. Thanks to SHICC’s contribution, CLTB has been able to work on the assets of its members to support them towards creating activities with fellow members.
The second aspect is identifying new forms of funding. SHICC has contributed to CLTB’s efforts to create a fundraising strategy that looks into attracting funding from charities and philanthropists. In addition, SHICC has supported the work CLTB is carrying out in creating a land cooperative that will be able to make CLT land available to housing and non-housing projects thanks to charity and citizen finance.
CLTB is currently harnessing the learning of these experiences that will be captured in policy papers targeted towards interested stakeholders.
The SHICC project has enabled Samenlevingsopbouw Gent vzw as an initiator of CLTs in Ghent and Flanders to:
- adapt the CLT model, to the specific problems and opportunities of their part of the NWE region, increasing the transferability in that region.
- play an important role in adapting the existing legal, administrative, financial and cultural environment in their part of the NWE region (for example mobilize residents).
- develop innovative operational practices in the field of community organizing that are useful to CLT’s in the whole NWE region.
- develop the legal bodies required for CLT Ghent and together with partners plan the first project of 34 CLT homes (financial, architectural, residents) that will inspire other initiatives in the region.
- participate in and organise peer-to-peer exchange, share knowledge and experience amongst the CLT’s and build up capacity.
The SHICC project has allowed London CLT to structure how it will scale up in a way which aligns with the organisations people-focused values and mission i.e. *Communities creating *Permanently affordable homes and *Transforming neighbourhoods. Three outputs have been focused on throughout the project, with the first two completed and integrated into the organisation’s structure and processes and the third and final in progress this year. Here’s how the first two have already helped:
Development of the Allocations Strategy and Review
London CLT developed a strategy and policy for allocations for the first project at St Clements, Tower Hamlets. This baseline can now be used and adapted for new projects. The allocations review identified areas for improvement which will be kept in mind when updating and running the allocations for the second housing project at Brasted Close, in Lewisham.
Development of the Social Impact Measurement Tool
London CLT developed, together with external consultants, a set of important measurements to demonstrate to its board, potential funders and as a means of self-reflection, how it is achieving the social impact it would like to have as guided by the organisation’s core values and mission. Not only has the tool developed a way for the organisation to check in on the impact it is already having, but it has also meant that additional actions and tools were developed to meet the organisation’s ongoing ambitions. E.g. A leadership development tool to track the impact on engaged individuals involved in a campaign for housing.
The SHICC project allows the City of Lille and the OFSML to launch major studies that are essential to the local development, including the following :
a study about how to increase the BRS homes in the metropolis (not only in new housing but also in social housing sale or in urban renewal sectors as well as in less central areas than the first 2 operations)
a study on the legal structure of the OFSML evolving from the association/NGO into a foundation
a study concerning the OFSML economic model review
Also, the SHICC project gives the City of Lille and the OFSML important national and international influence.
The SHICC Partners Have Been Busy
The SHICC partners have made much progress in the last few months. Find out just some of what the partners have been up to. Click here to get month by month updates of all the exciting work being done.
London CLTs earning recognition
Archio architects won the award for best affordable housing development (in construction) in the Inside Housing Development Awards on November 27th for their work on CLT Lewisham, a CLT led by the group Lewisham Citizens. In accepting its award, Archio said that much of the credit was really due to London CLT and Lewisham Citizens for the work they've done to disrupt the housing market. Congrats!
Meanwhile Use at Tivoli District Site
Since the construction of CLTB's Tivoli District homes in Laeken won't begin until 2021, CLTB has joined forces with GAG, a collective of residents and neighbourhood associations in the area. GAG will create a space for people to come together, hold meetings and play in the neighbourhood. They will also be selling Belgian waffles to entice people and introduce them to the space. This is a nod to and in celebration of the site's history when in the 19th-century city-dwellers of all social classes would eat waffles there.
NCLTN launch new fund, have a big policy win and launch new incorporation service
After 18 months of lobbying from the National CLT Network and their members, the Government announced it will exempt all community led housing developments, including CLTs, from the ban on leasehold houses and ground rents. This is a massive win for the CLT movement and will mean that communities will continue to ethically use the leasehold system to provide and protect affordable houses. Click here for more information. They have also launched the Cohesive Communities Fund to help CLTs diversify their membership and leadership and revamped their Incorporation Service.
Showcase at 'Making an Impact' Event
With the SHICC programme represented at Interreg North West Europe’s ‘Making an Impact’ event in Lille on 4 and 5 December, the City of Lille was able to showcase its pioneering OFS Cosmopole development to more than 40 guests. The event was also an opportunity to present the social impact of CLTs based in London, Ghent and Brussels.
Progress in new development
On 11 December, the aldermen of the City of Ghent declared that the CLT Ghent Trust will receive the land in ownership for their first project -- and on better conditions than were previously promised. Furthermore, the East Flanders province has decided to continue supporting CLT Ghent for another year. We celebrate these encouraging announcements!
Webinar brings new connections
The webinar FMDV held on October 10 regarding its report on CLT financial models across Europe bore fruit in sparking new relationships with important partners across Europe, including the French network for cooperative housing (Habicoop), the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning as well as a Spanish cooperative of groups offering financial services to housing projects, including its pilot "Community Ground" project (Coop 57).
Start up voucher scheme
The voucher scheme was created to support the growth of new and faltering projects across the NWE. In England and Wales, there is a developed support infrastructure which has proven instrumental in building the CLT movement. The plan is to begin to test and emulate this model across the region. This has been achieved through mapping the existing support infrastructure across NWE and then running a Voucher Scheme to provide technical support to new or fledgeling urban CLTs.
To date, the scheme has approved 27 projects for support -- 12 from England, nine in Belgium, one from Wales, one in France, one in The Netherlands, one from Germany, one in Ireland and one in Northern Ireland. Thanks to the partners’ work promoting the project and supporting potential applicants with their bids, we are confident in reaching our target of supporting 33 groups over the course of the project, leaving a strong legacy of SHICC.
Long-term affordability is at the heart of all the projects supported. However, each has different ideas of how to achieve this, often denoted by the population or conditions unique to their area. For example, Be Vicus in Belgium aims to meet the difficulties of three categories of the public: young low-income families, ageing people and people with mental disabilities. Leicestershire Community Housing Project, for example, is establishing mixed tenure housing that provides accommodation to homeless, refugees, migrants.
The SHICC partners are excited to follow the development of the supported projects and the movement more broadly as it grows.
Strengthening CLT financial environment
FMDV -- with the support of its six partners -- will be releasing a Financial Guide for the development of CLTs in Europe. Drawing from recently published case studies, this toolkit further explores the 6 major financial barriers to CLTs and evaluates 15 innovative instruments in order to enable CLTs to deliver genuinely affordable homes at the EU level.
In order to know more about this work, join our webinar on Thursday, February 27!
Access to the full report will soon be available on the SHICC website.
This publication is part of a broader campaign for the development of a favourable financial environment for CLTs/OFSs in Europe.
After two 2 years of hard work, our joint efforts have recently led to the creation of a “Working Group on Collaborative Housing Finance”. This focus group gathers SHICC partners, as well as associated partners such as: Urbamonde, Housing Europe, MOBA, the REVE Network or World Habitat, etc.
Working group members are collaborating in order to launch soon a tender for a pre-feasibility study questioning how to best channel funding to scale up CLTs at the EU level.
We hope to present the results of this study at the "On Common Ground" conference in Brussels (3-4 June 2020).
This prefiguration study aims to be the first step towards setting up an infrastructure dedicated to the financing of collaborative housing on a European scale.
Building the CLT movement
The SHICC partners included a social impact measurement framework and tool as a key output of the project, as well-presented and articulated social impact analysis can help to convince European, national and regional policymakers and social-minded financiers of the effectiveness of CLT initiatives in building sustainable affordable housing. Social Impact is a unique feature of community led initiatives and sets them apart from other (perhaps more) professional or established models, positively showcasing this difference is crucial to attracting audiences, funding and support.
The tool itself is designed to be user-friendly for groups and to help them build an understanding of their impact focus, an assessment of the quality of their measures and a plan of how to improve quality if needed. This will be in order to have robust information and evidence that will help groups to make better decisions, solve problems strategically and tactically and create persuasive and compelling communications. All this increases each group’s chance of success, which in turn can be inspiring to other groups and potential stakeholders, further extending the reach and audience of the community led housing movement.
The tool itself is in its final stages with testing to be carried out with sixteen groups in March 2020. Following successful testing, the SHICC partners will be rolling this out across the sector for the use of CLTs and in the hope of building a sector-standard method of analysis.
Advocating for CLTs across NWE
A manifesto for English CLTs
England’s multi-million-pound Community Housing Fund, which was announced in March 2016, has been a major success. In just two years, the number of community led homes planned in the country has tripled to 16,600. Long-term funding like this alongside positive policy changes will make the path to becoming a mainstream housing movement in the country an easier one.
The National CLT Network has secured significant policy change for the movement, most recently an exemption from leasehold reforms. They are continuing to campaign for a full exemption from England’s Voluntary Right to Buy and Leasehold Enfranchisement - both of which could be damaging for CLTs.
In November 2019 the National CLT Network launched a new manifesto for the CLT movement with three main asks: a Community Right to Buy, a renewed £500m Community Housing Fund and exemption from damaging legislation. The full manifesto can be read here.
SHICC partners have co-drafted a manifesto ahead of the European election last year identifying key asks to support the growth of the CLT movement in Europe. This manifesto has been widely disseminated thanks to SHICC Associated Partner Housing Europe and has been endorsed by the European Green Party.
In addition, the Mayors of Lille and Ghent, the Minister-President of the Brussels Capital Region, and the Deputy Mayor of London have signed a joint letter highlighting their commitment to the CLT model and encouraging other mayors to develop CLTs in their geographies.
SHICC contributed to the Housing Solutions Platform's recent project exploring 50 Out-of-the-Box Housing Solutions to Homelessness & Housing Exclusion. Pages 62-63 of the publication profile the SHICC project and the solution the CLT model can offer to issues of housing exclusion.