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Community-Led Housing

Community-Led Housing (CLH) is when communities come together to develop the homes which are needed in their local community. This housing can be for rent, low cost homeownership, or for sale, but it is designed to be always affordable for the community that needs it. Anyone can start, volunteer or deliver a community-led housing project. 

CLH groups can play an active role in solving the housing needs of their local area. This model of housing can take many forms and is flexible to suit the requirements of a range of different scenarios and circumstances. Communities can lead a project or work in partnership with the Council or a property developer.

External funding

A list of selected external funding options available to groups at all stages. This includes repayable and non repayable methods of finance. 

Success stories

Find out more about other successful community-led housing groups.


The Council provides support for self-builders and operates a register for anyone interested in building their own home.




Models of community-led housing

There are a number of well established, recognised models which some communities chose for their Community Housing Scheme. However, many communities find they develop a new model which best suits their own individual needs. A strength of Community Housing is in its flexibility, click on the headings to find out more.

Co-operative housing

A co-operative housing or 'co-op' is a type of residential housing option that is owned and controlled jointly by a group of individuals who have equal shares, membership and / or occupancy rights to the housing. 

Self-help housing

Self-Help Housing involves groups of local people bringing back into use empty properties. Some communities chose to partner with a Registered Provider (Housing Associations) to deliver and manage their scheme. Specialist organisations provide additional support for rural communities and for communities with particular needs, such as elderly or disabled people for example.

Community Land Trust

Community Land Trusts (CLTs) are a form of community-led housing, set up and run by ordinary people to develop and manage homes.  CLTs act as long-term stewards of housing, ensuring that it remains genuinely affordable, based on what people actually earn in their area, not just for now but for every future occupier.


Cohousing communities are intentional communities, created and run by their residents. Each household has a self-contained, private home as well as shared community space. Residents come together to manage their community and share activities.


What is involved in a community-led housing project?

A community led housing project is completed over five stages:

  • Group Stage

You want to meet the housing needs within your community, where do you start? Form a steering group of motivated people that are passionate about your cause, and get your ideas nailed down. Do your research and check the local community supports your plan. Good, thorough and consistant community engagement will help stop any delays further down the process. Speak to experts in the sector, and then form the legal structure of your group. 

  • Site Stage

Now its time to find the right site for your project. This may depend on what the aims of your project are, do you need to be near certain facilities? Do you want to renovate an existing building, or build new houses? It will help you and those helping you, if you develop a site finding brief detailing what you're looking for, and why. 

  • Plan Stage

It's time to get your vision on paper and check the site your looking at is going to work for your project. Then, you'll need to work with architechts and the local community to make sure your project can get off to a good start. You'll be ready to submit your planning permission. 

  • Build Stage 

Whether you're building new homes, renovating existing buldings or buying empty homes, it's time to get your plan off the paper and turn it into housing for your local community. 

  • Live Stage

Get people living in those homes! Whether rented or sold these homes will need to be managed effectively to keep the homes affordable and to help the new residents connect with the local community. 

For more information about what Community Led Housing is, and how to get your project from idea to live stage, look at the resources below. 


Community Led Homes

Community Led Homes is a partnership between the Confederation of Co-operative housing, Locality, the National Community Land Trust Network and UK Cohousing.

Kent Community Housing Hub

Kent Community Housing Hub helpes people across the region to develop their own community housing projects. 

Community-led housing are properties or developments that are built, purchased, or run by local people in their own communities. They are always non-profit. It is about local people playing a leading role in helping to solve housing problems and developing affordable homes and strong communities in ways that are often difficult to achieve through mainstream housing.

Anyone can play an active role in solving the housing needs of their local area. You don’t need to work in housing, or have a degree in architecture, you don’t even need to be a builder. If you think you can make a difference or that a change is needed in your community, you can lead that change.

Community-led housing schemes are often small, but they can create a big impact on communities and those living in them; producing valuable community assets and helping to support local economies.