"Everyone knows that renting in Bristol is a shambles: spiralling costs, crazy demand, discrimination, eviction. The situation is serious, with nearly one in three Bristolians renting their home and costs rising faster than in any other UK city." -The Bristol Cable
That's why we at Sorrel Housing Co-operative, one of many community-led housing projects in the city, are taking matters into our own hands to do something about it. Through the Bristol Land Disposal Policy, we plan to acquire underused Council-owned land to build affordable eco-housing for its members and in the process create more resilient and supportive communities.
With your help we have already registered ourselves as a legal entity - that's right!! We are officially a housing co-operative society!
We have learnt and achieved so much already but have a long way to go before providing the affordable, secure, ecological and democratically controlled housing that we all need.
In order to assist our bid for council land to build this new democratically controlled eco-housing in Bristol we need some additional help from experts to support the hard work we are putting in as a group. Right now we need to raise money to help pay for a community-led housing adviser, an architect, accountant, web designer, financial adviser, surveyors, housing and finance lawyers to name just a few.
Our first goal is to fund for a Community Led Housing Advisor (Sometimes called an Enabler )
A CLH Enabler would help us navigate different processes and institutions, so that our vision is communicated in an accessible and professional manner. This includes advising us on finance, networking, and council bureaucracy. The cost of someone's time is around £300-£500 a day.
We would appreciate any donations; step by step we can make some positive change in the housing sector that actually benefits the community that live there. Thank you for your support, and please share our mission far and wide.
What even is a housing co-op and why set one up?
Creating genuinely affordable housing:
- Co-ops always remain an affordable place to live - no one can ever individually make a profit from the property and it will always remain in common ownership.
- This is in stark contrast to soaring rent prices, and buy-to-let landlords who reap huge profits, often depriving tenants of long-term security, control and autonomy over their own homes.
- In years to come, once the mortgage of a housing co-op is paid off, surplus money will then be reinvested into the maintenance of the co-op and into helping other co-ops get off the ground, thus creating more and more affordable housing!
- Co-ops are accessible to set up even for people on a low income, as you don't need any of your own money to do so.
Tenants have democratic control:
- There's no landlord when it comes to housing co-ops, all tenants have collective control and an equal say in the running of the house.
Growing the co-op movement:
- There are only 685 housing co-ops in the UK, whereas in Sweden, whose population is roughly one-sixth of the UK, there are 32,000. We want to help grow the co-op movement so more people can have affordable and secure housing.
What have we done so far?
- We have been successfully funded to register as an official Housing Coop! Thank you everyone who donated.
- We are finalising our vision and mission, creating a business plan and financial modelling.
- We have expanded our member numbers.
- We have been meeting regularly and engaging with other community led housing projects and organisations in Bristol and beyond.
What are we doing now?
- We are aiming to build a community of eco-homes with community at its centre, offering a space for local workshops and events.
- Through applying for land through Bristol City Council's Land Disposal Policy. When we have this land, we hope to build using a mix of loan stock, our own funds, and grant money.
- If we are successful in accessing land through the council we plan to build using a mix of our own labour, contractors, workshops and upskilling.
- Whilst we plan to do as much of the work ourselves as we can, we will need help along the way. This Crowdfunder will allow us to continue to develop through accessing knowledge, skills and experiences of experts in certain fields.
To keep up-to-date with our developments please follow our social media. We are very grateful for your support and are excited to share this journey with you.
- Instagram: @sorrelcoop
- Facebook: @SorrelHousingCoop
- Twitter: @CoopSorrel