Andy and Charlie went up to Leeds this week to meet the people behind Canopy, a self-help housing project which has been operating for the last 20 years. A team of volunteers renovate empty back-to-back houses, bringing them up to current standards and with fantastic finishes. The great thing about this project is that the volunteers are in precarious housing situations and are able to renovate a home of their own after eight days of taking part with the team.
Canopy, and it’s sister project LATCH, have had a boom period during the past few years as they received funding from the HCA’s Empty Homes Programme to bring properties back into use. The fund is now closed but it looks like it will be renewed so they are hoping they can continue at the same pace going forwards.
We also met the Empty Homes Doctor who have been a broker working with the various other renovation organisations to take on large contracts with the council to do up entire streets.
We came back to Oxford inspired to do something similar with the resources to hand and so watch this space for Oxford Community Homes!