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Hope for Housing in Hastings and St Leonards with HOWCH

Our community has a housing affordability crisis, but it's not just about building more homes, rather the right sort of homes.We aim to build genuinely affordable housing that meets the needs of our
community. These homes will be more than a place to live, they will create a community for a full life, sharing space, time, and facilities with each other and the wider community, whilst retaining
the usual private rooms in individual homes. This concept is familiar to our European neighbours and is becoming popular here with these “co housing” schemes being built across the country.
We are developing a model for housing that will be useful for different groups in the community.
We are starting though with housing for older women, that is women over fifty. We know that women often work part time with caring responsibilities for children and parents, and this means
lower incomes. This impacts on their pension income, and so older women often face real hardship when looking for homes that are affordable to rent or to buy particularly when they are living alone.
We have been inspired by OWCH ( Older Women's Co Housing ) scheme in Barnet. Their shared space includes a garden, guest rooms, and a common room where meals and parties can be
enjoyed. The women share outings and some costs. There are places to chat, and read a paper on a rainy day. The women manage the place, and so no one else profits or imposes rules. Their units are designed with ageing in mind, there are lifts and wide doors.
We are planning to have affordable homes to rent with some shared ownership and the option to buy a leasehold . The costs should be lower with the design that we have in mind, and they will be
shared. Sharing is at the heart of this idea, and it is the sharing that will keep loneliness and isolation away.
We are made up of local people, we are planning an open membership and democratic
governance structure. We will work with, amongst others, the local council to acquire land, fundraise and build relationships with architects and developers to ensure that we build the right
kind of homes.
We are wonderfully supported in this project by Action in Rural Sussex, who are promoting community led housing. We have obtained a start up grant from National CLT and we are seeking
additional funding from Hastings Borough Council who have been extremely supportive of the idea.
We are interested in what people think, and what their concerns are. We hold public meetings .
We are keen to recruit volunteers to become members of the group, to meet and get to know each other, talk to each other, make decisions and agree how we will proceed.
If you are interested in our project please contact or
Our next public meeting will take place on Friday the 15th February 2019 from 4-6pm at Cafe Grand rue de la Perra, 73-74 Queens Road, Hastings TN34 1RL. All are welcome.

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