Self-help housing: supporting locally driven solutions

Consultation report

The Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF) co-ordinated a Consultation on self-help housing at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. It sought to explore how self-help housing could be supported more effectively, to maximise the contributions it can bring to tackling empty properties. The Consultation built on new research from the TSRC, which identified many benefits associated with this approach.

Self-help housing provides:

  • an additional source of affordable and accessible housing to meet local housing needs;
  • opportunities to gain construction skills and training;
  • a sense of community, common purpose and mutual support for residents
  • and the workforce;
  • an opportunity for owners of empty properties to bring them back into use;
  • a means to tackle dereliction and blight which contributes to wider neighbourhood regeneration.

TSRC analysis of self-help housing case studies found an interconnected group of barriers to and enablers of their development. The success factors for self-help housing were considered to be a committed group of people organising projects, available property, a viable funding model, local housing need, a willing workforce and support from partner organisations. Working to assemble all of the key ingredients will require different types of responses by individuals, communities, charities, local authorities, central government and others. These are outlined in full in the report, but can be divided into three broad areas for action:

  • engage with people and communities;
  • build the strength of local partnerships;
  • create a supportive national framework.