The UK is suffering from a housing crisis, and Birmingham is no exception. Only 16% of houses built in the city in 2016-17 were affordable, and gentrification is spreading across the city rapidly.

But across Birmingham, groups, individuals and communities have come together to challenge Birmingham’s broken housing system, and develop alternatives together. We held an event showcasing some of the most exciting housing groups in the city today, and asked them to share their alternatives.

The event was also an opportunity to launch our new guide, How to make the case for community-led housing on public land. The Government’s sale of public land provides a resource which could kickstart community-led affordable development, but all too often this land is sold to the highest bidder. Our new guide aims to help community groups access this land for community benefit.

Here are some highlights from the event:

The event began with NEF Organiser Rebecca Winson, who set the scene for Birmingham’s housing crisis.

The attendees were asked to identify what they thought were the barriers to truly affordable accessible housing in Birmingham.

NEF Organiser Heather Kennedy then presented our new guide for community groups, showing how it can be used to get access to public land for affordable housing.

Adam Eddlestone from Acorn Birmingham, a branch of the tenants’ union and anti-poverty organising group, explained why organisations representing private tenants are so essential. Members work together to defend tenants against exploitative landlords.

Peter Richmond from the Birmingham Community-Led Housing Partnership advocated for community-led housing – why it is essential for local people to have a say over where and how they live.

The evening ended with Bright Muyoti and Joanna Muyoti from NeAs, a community group in Nechells and Aston, which is beginning its work towards affordable, community-led housing in the area. Bright emphasised the importance of homes which serve the local community: homes which have space for intergenerational living, which are safe, and which are truly affordable.

NeAs are organising a community walk on June 2nd, to identify sites which can be used for community-led housing. Details here.

Read more about NEF’s work in Birmingham here