In October 2017, we began work on a three-year grant-funded action research project called Homemaker Oxford. Driven by the dual issues of a rise in homelessness and the prevalence of empty and underused space in Oxford, we set out to explore how such spaces might be put to good use providing housing for people without a home.
Homemaker focusses on the complex and stubborn gap created by a lack of social housing, expensive private rents, and the rising number of people who are homeless. We’re using design research and rapid prototyping alongside our knowledge of community-led housing to populate this gap with truly-affordable, locally rooted, and well-designed homes.
Alongside new truly-affordable and community-centred homes within the city, Homemaker is also developing the innovative new business models and partnerships needed to develop these homes and support their residents.
Through a methodology of co-production and and ethic of participatory urban practice, we’re also hoping to shift narratives on housing and homelessness in the city and to challenge how the city delivers housing for low-income citizens.
In 2018/19, as part of Homemaker and in partnership with Crisis Skylight, we started a ‘How to Build a House’ class, teaching Crisis Members a mix of practical skills and theory on housing.
Homemaker will run until July 2021.