Cosmopolitan gives stalled housing scheme fresh start

The future of a low-cost housing scheme in Liverpool, that involves future homeowners contributing their labour to the build, has been secured with backing from Cosmopolitan Housing Association.

Housing charity Habitat for Humanity has already built nine of the 32 homes on a 2.2-acre site, donated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, on Kingsley Road in Granby-Toxteth.

But funding problems led to a suspension of the work.

Now a £2m partnership with Liverpool-based Cosmopolitan and support from Liverpool City Council that means work will resume shortly.

The Territorial Army's 75 Engineer Regiment has also offered to dig drains and build the road that will service the remaining homes. Balfour Beatty and its Birse Civls subsidiary has also donated materials.

Homes at the site are built almost entirely by volunteers, including future home owners who must invest 500 hours of 'sweat equity' – physically working on site – in lieu of a £10,000 deposit.

People buy the homes on a shared ownership basis and can 'staircase' to full ownership over time. In the meantime they will pay rent to Cosmopolitan.

Cosmopolitan will fund and the development of the remaining 23 houses in six phases over the next two-and-a-half years. Habitat for Humanity will continue to manage the build. LHFH will also continue to select home partners who meet its criteria and a Cosmopolitan representative will join the charity's family selection committee.

Rev Dr Shannon Ledbetter, chair of Liverpool Habitat for Humanity, said: "This is a win-win situation for everyone: Local families who ordinarily could not afford to get on to the property ladder can help to build a home of their own, with their input valued at £10,000; volunteers and trainees can improve their skills and experience on a 'live' building site; homeowners, volunteers, staff and community groups will benefit from working together to create a multi-cultural community.

"And, as enablers for the scheme, Cosmopolitan Housing Association will gain additional good quality housing stock. We are delighted to be partnering with Cosmopolitan and look forward to the successful completion of the remaining 23 homes."

Dave Griffiths, development director at Cosmopolitan, said: "Cosmopolitan Housing Association is delighted to be able to assist LHFH to make such a positive impact in the community and in particular to make a real difference to the futures of these young families by helping them move into their new homes.

"What makes this project special is the opportunity it gives people to have a hand in actually building their home, which not only makes it affordable but gives them in many cases new skills and a real sense of pride in where they live."

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