Housing advice and support

Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust (BHCLT) supports community-led housing projects, including co-operatives, cohousing and self-build, all developed through local people working together. The Programme is supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC).

We want more truly affordable and stable housing in Brighton & Hove with more people gaining ownership and control over their housing situation. We enable local people to play an active role in building or buying affordable housing that suits them, in co-operation with others.

Our work to increase community-led housing in Brighton & Hove includes:

  • Discovering suitable land and properties and helping groups acquire them for housing projects.
  • Connecting local people who want to start their own housing projects and providing them with expertise and support.
  • Raising awareness and building knowledge about community-led housing with local people, the council and others who work in housing.
  • Supporting local people to apply to the Community Housing Fund for financial support with their housing projects.

BHCLT are a central resource for everything related to community-led housing in Brighton & Hove and we have a small team of staff with relevant expertise.
Community-led housing involves a group of people coming together to develop a project, leading the way through the whole process, or taking an active involvement in making it happen and managing the resulting homes. ‘Community’ can refer to people who share some form of common interest or identity, or it could refer to a neighbourhood or geographical area.

Our work on community-led housing is supported by Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC) through the Community Housing Fund. BHCLT has joined forces with two local organisations – Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH) and Mutual Aid In Sussex (MAIS) – to make this happen.

We also want to influence decision makers – such as those working in the council or on housing development – that community-led housing is beneficial for a variety of people in Brighton & Hove. The city is already home to several community-led housing projects, some of which have been providing housing for decades.

We can reduce some of the barriers which make it difficult for community-led housing groups to realise their plans, such as a lack of finance, specialist skills, knowledge, contacts as well as the rapidly increasing market values of land and property.

We also want people who have never considered community-led housing to think about whether it could be a solution for them.

We work with local people, community groups, housing organisations, Brighton & Hove City Council (BHCC), funders, planners, landowners and technical experts.

Our work is not about replacing social housing, which is in short supply despite being an essential part of the UK’s housing infrastructure, particularly for people most in need.

How to access support

Please get in touch on admin@bhclt.org.uk and let us know some information about your group.

Why community-led housing?

Community-led housing covers a range of different ways of living, including:

  • Co-operatives – where residents collectively manage and control the houses they live in, without the need for landlords.
  • Cohousing – communities where households live in separate homes but there is also a significant amount of shared space, common facilities and co-operation.
  • Self-build – where people lead the development of their own homes, working with others.

Community-led housing can include renting, private ownership, co-operatives, mutual home ownership and collective ownership. Projects can use existing buildings or be self-built.

The key thing is that community engagement and consent is at the centre of any development. Either a group of local people have come together to start their own housing project, leading the way through the whole process, or they have an active involvement in making it happen and managing the resulting homes.

Community-led housing is good for Brighton & Hove because:

  • It provides additional affordable and stable housing.
  • It creates and demonstrates alternative ways of living which have a positive impact on wellbeing.
  • It encourages collaboration and co-operation between local people and involves them in decisions about new housing.
  • People have more say in how their homes are developed and managed, giving the opportunity for democratic control and greater local accountability. It can help local people develop new skills as they make their projects a reality.
  • It creates an opportunity to make use of empty buildings and vacant land, revitalising communities.

Community-led housing projects are not:

  • State-led social housing or affordable housing schemes.
  • Run by housing associations, charities or professional experts on behalf of others.
  • For profit, market-based, developer-driven initiatives.