Community housing charity Housing People, Building Communities (HPBC), has been gifted a derelict church in Toxteth, Liverpool, for the purpose of development.
Following the successful completion of HPBC’s 32-home Kingsley Road project, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool handed over the unused site of St Bernard’s Catholic Church to the charity, to further benefit the community and fulfill local housing need.
HPBC submitted a planning application to Liverpool City Council to transform the church into 11 affordable, three-storey townhouses with four two-bedroom apartments and a detached house, built within the church grounds.
HPBC, celebrating its 15th birthday this year, hopes to begin work on the site within the first quarter of 2018, with homeowners expected to move in in early 2019.
As a community-led development, HPBC invites local volunteers and future residents to get involved with the build process. The charity hopes that its latest development will encourage more community involvement and diversity of home partners, with people of all ages and backgrounds joining together to form a strong community.
All of the properties developed by HPBC are available under shared ownership, providing local people with a greater chance of getting onto the property ladder. The charity has already received interest in all 16 planned properties and runs a ‘sweat equity’ policy, where residents can earn money towards their deposit, if they get involved with building the homes.
Liza Parry, Chief Executive of HPBC commented (shown): “Our charity has always prioritised making homes truly affordable for families on lower incomes. We go about doing this in several ways, by not only utilising corporate support but also by using our ‘sweat equity’ model.
“Through this, prospective homeowners get involved in building the houses. Five hundred hours of sweat equity equates to £10,000 towards the deposit of the homes, which are also bought on a shared ownership basis, meaning that it’s even more affordable for them.”
Words: Jen Grimble Photography: Nigel Hillier