Open day: What is it like to live in a housing co-operative?

Join us on Saturday 15 July for an open day of six housing co-operatives in Brighton & Hove, each with its own story. This is a chance to see some of the ways more genuinely affordable housing has been created in the city.

Please turn up at any of the houses at 1pm, 2.30pm and 4pm (Rosa Bridge is just 1pm) for the tour of the house/flat, kindly offered by one of the residents who can answer questions and give an overview of the co-operative’s history.

Members of MAIS will be at Coachwerks in Hollingdean between 12.30pm and 6pm to answer any questions and provide information. Drop in for a drink and a chat. More on Coachwerks here: http://coachwerks.org/

Please note:
Visits to Rosa Bridge can only be made at 1pm
For the exact address of Out of Town, please contact MAIS (mais@riseup.net)

These Co-operatives are available to visit on the day (information on each house underneath the map)

Two Piers

Address: 3 Christchurch, Bedford Place, BN1 2QJ

Two Piers is a permanent ownership housing co-operative, Brighton’s largest housing co-op. It provides affordable housing for 68 single people, including parents, in shared and self-contained flats and houses in several locations across the city.

The Christchurch flats are very central, close to Western Road. There are eleven flats, of various sizes, in two blocks facing each other across a small paved garden, which boasts a fishpond and lovely pergola.

Christchurch is on the site of an old church which was demolished. The Two Piers build started in 1985 and tenants moved in two years later. The housing was designed by Michael Blee, who closely followed the Co-op’s brief of providing a highly communal building, basing his ideas on rural villages in India and Mexico.

There is a ‘gazebo’ in the garden, used for meetings, band practice, children’s parties, meditation, and which currently houses the co-op’s archives and library.

There will be a sign on the door of Christchurch so you can contact the resident who will show you around her flat. The flat is accessible on ground floor but there are stairs to the toilet. Neighbours with no stairs can let people use their toilet if needs be.

More info: http://twopiers.coop

Bug

Address: 1 Bevendean Crescent, BN2 4RB

Bug Housing Co-operative was formed in 2005. It is situated in Higher Bevendean and currently house six members as well as the resident cat Jasper.

Bug is a fully mutual co-op which means that all decisions are made by members, generally at monthly meetings. Each member has their own co-op role(s), these may be taken on as an individual, shared or swapped by general agreement. The roles are treasurer, secretary, maintenance, garden, allocations, household and development.

Living within a co-op provides individuals with both affordable and secure housing. Bug believes in creating a supportive environment for all members in order for both members and “the co-op” (as a home, house and business) to thrive. When a vacancy arises they send an advert out through both the CHIBAH and Permaculture networks. Applicants that meet the criteria are invited to interview and successful applicants are taken on with a three month probationary period before becoming full members.

Unfortunately access to Bug is impossible to anyone in a wheelchair; they are situated up a hill, with a small mulch slope and four steps to access the front door.

More info: Get in touch at bugcoopbrighton@gmail.com

Out of Town (Fiveways)

Out of Town housing co-op owns two properties housing 17 people (plus various dogs, cats and chickens). They have owned one house for eight years and the other was bought more recently to rehouse members from two properties which had to be handed back to the council after the end of a ten year lease.

Out of Town is a member of Radical Routes, which is a mutual aid network of radical co-ops whose members are committed to working for positive social change.

For Out of Town’s address contact MAIS on mais@riseup.net
More info on Radical Routes: http://radicalroutes.org.uk/

Hornbeam

Address: 140 Norwich Drive, Bevendean

The four founder members set up Hornbeam housing co-operative in 2011. They had been renting together for many years and dealing with all the insecurities that come with it before deciding to set up a housing co-op. As well as the insecurity of renting they set up Hornbeam to move away from property ownership, whilst still allowing people to be in control of their housing, giving people on a low income a stable place to live. The rent, which is well below market value, has also enabled members to move towards a more healthy work/life balance.

Hornbeam wants to show people that it is possible to live another way, believing that living communally is not only better for people but also the environment. They managed to secure a grant from the Government’s Empty Homes scheme and bought a property in Bevendean in early 2013.

The members did a lot of work and renovation on the property and Hornbeam is now a six member house, continuing to develop the property in the most sustainable way possible. There has only been a few changes in membership over the last few years but those who have left are still friends of the co-op and last year a baby arrived which has been fantastic. Hornbeam’s ethos of mutual aid and cooperation continues.

Rosa Bridge

Address: 34a Richmond Street, Brighton, BN2 9PD

Rosa Bridge is a small, queer, feminist co-op of five members, set up in 2014 with the help of a grant from the DCLG’s Empty Homes Programme. It is part of an old dairy in the Tarner area of Brighton.

Rosa Bridge aimed to take housing, especially in the city centre, away from private ownership and to be part of creating different alternatives to notions of ‘home’.

The house is up a steep hill, 10/15 minutes up or down a hill to bus stops and shops. There are three shallow but awkward steps to get into the house, and doorways are slim. All the communal areas are across the ground floor and there are no steps in the ground floor.

Brighton Rock

Address: 395-399 Kingsway, Hove, BN3 4QE

Brighton Rock Housing Co-operative consists of three terraced houses with four inhabitants living in each house, the gardens are joined at the rear and are communal.

The houses have limited access for wheelchairs due to the width of doorways.

More info: https://brightonrockcoop.org/

 

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The schedule for Housing Crisis: Community solutions 2017

Saturday 24 June, 10am – 5pm
Brighton Steiner School, Roedean Road, Kemp Town/Whitehawk, BN2 5RA (map).
FREE entry. Donations asked for to cover costs. No person turned away for lack of funds.

Register here:

 

 

 

We have a housing crisis in Brighton & Hove. House prices are nearly five times what they were twenty years ago. Over 30% of households are privately renting, which is the biggest proportion of any town and city in England and Wales. More than 26,000 people are on the council housing waiting list and 1 in 69 people in Brighton & Hove are homeless. Most of us can’t afford to live here without some form of subsidy or spending a massive amount of our incomes on housing. Damp housing, overcrowding and evictions are all too common.

Community-led housing (including housing co-operatives and Cohousing) is one of many ways to create more genuinely affordable and secure housing in the city. It also enables people to be more part of a community and to take power back from the hands of developers, letting agencies and a housing market that is out of control.

Housing Crisis: Community solutions 2017 is an opportunity to find out about – and get help to create –different kinds of community-led housing.

Find out more here

9.30-10.00am Registration
10.00-10.20am
Introducing the day – Amy and Matt (Mutual Aid in Sussex)
Who are MAIS? What is happening today? What are the issues with housing in Brighton? What do we want to come out of the event?
10.25 – 12.00am
Facilitated discussion on our housing needs and wants – Lucy and Sarah
What are the housing needs of people attending and what housing would people ideally want
 12.05- 13.05pm
What are your options in community-led housing? – An overview by Tom Chance (National Community Land Trust network)
Cohousing? Housing co-ops? Self-build? And how do we make it happen?
13.05-14.05
Lunch

Food provided by Hail Seitan! (a workers’ collective)
Reserve your lunch here
 2.10-3.10pm
How can people get support and money to help set up community-led housing in the city? – Helen Russell & Peter Clarke (both members of Brighton Community Land Trust & Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove)
3.15-4.15pm
How two local housing co-ops did it in practice?  Allie (Skylark Housing Co-op), Helen Bartlett (Rosa Bridge)
Members and residents of two co-ops answer questions such as: What is a housing co-op? How did we get the money? How did we find the right people? What makes a co-op different to standard renting? How do we keep it going? What makes our co-op different?
4.20-4.45pm
What next? – Amy and Matt (Mutual Aid in Sussex)
A summary of some of the main issues raised in the day and how to take things forward.
4.45-5.45pm
Informal socialising, followed by drinks in the pub.

There will be a chance to join existing community housing groups or start your own with other like-minded people at the event. People from housing organisations and campaigns in the city will be there to answer any questions.

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Housing Crisis: Community solutions 2017

Join us on Saturday 24 June for a day dedicated to community-led housing and how people can make it happen.

We have a housing crisis in Brighton & Hove. House prices are nearly five times what they were twenty years ago. Over 30% of households are privately renting, which is the biggest proportion of any town and city in England and Wales. Around 26,000 people are on the council housing waiting list and 1 in 69 people in Brighton & Hove are homeless. Most of us can’t afford to live here without some form of subsidy or spending a massive amount of our incomes on housing. Damp housing, overcrowding and evictions are all too common.

Community-led housing (including housing co-operatives and Cohousing) is one of many ways to create more genuinely affordable and secure housing in the city. It also enables people to be more part of a community and to take power back from the hands of developers, letting agencies and a housing market that is out of control.

Housing Crisis: Community solutions 2017 is an opportunity to find out about – and get help to create – housing co-operatives and co-housing. There will also be a session on how people or groups can access money and support to help build new community-led housing in Brighton & Hove. See the full schedule for the day here.

There will be a chance to join existing community housing groups or start your own with other like-minded people at the event. People from housing organisations and campaigns in the city will be there to answer any questions.

Saturday 24 June from 10am – 5pm at Brighton Steiner School, Roedean Rd, BN2 5RA (map). The event is FREE but we are asking for donations to help cover costs.

You will need to book in advance if you would like lunch on the day (you can also bring your own food instead).  You can turn up on the day without booking but it would help us get an idea of numbers if you reserve your place in advance, even if you don’t want lunch.

Register here:

 

 

 

There will be a creche, so please let us know in advance if you are bringing children. There is also a disabled toilet at the school and the talks and stalls will be on the ground level. If you would like to come but have access needs you don’t think are covered, please get in touch on mais@riseup.net.

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Occupy the factory! Workers and communities take over in Greece and beyond

Liam Barrington-Bush will join the next Mutual Aid In Sussex meeting, on Wednesday 19 April to talk about solidarity ecosystems in Greece and beyond.

Occupy the factory! Solidarity ecosystems of communities in Greece & beyond by Mutual Aid in Sussex

poster greece

A VIOME worker puts up a poster for the 2nd Euromed Workers’ Economy meeting. By Liam Barrington-Bush, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

In 2011, the Vio.Me. factory in Thessaloniki became the first European face of the occupied factory movement which came to global prominence in Argentina in 2001 and has since spread across Latin America.

Workplace occupations present an obvious alternatives to worker exploitation, with workers developing collective and cooperative means of organising their work, without bosses. Based on the practices that have emerged at Vio.Me. in Greece and in factories across Argentina, they may also offer a more directly democratic, sustainable and grassroots vision of how social change can happen.

Connecting with other grassroots, network-led forms of organising that have taken root elsewhere in the world (e.g. Chiapas, Rojava), come and explore what the organising models found at Vio.Me. could mean for a range of radical organising efforts closer to home.

Liam travelled to Greece in October 2016 to hear stories from workers and attend the Euromediterranean Workers Economy meeting, a unique glimpse into a breadth of worker-occupations happening across Europe.

Occupy the factory! Solidarity ecosystems of communities in Greece & beyond by Mutual Aid in Sussex

Join us at 7.30pm on Wednesday 19 April at Coachwerks, 19A Hollingdean Terrace, Brighton. Please bring £1 towards venue costs.

Read more about Liam’s experiences in Greece here on the ROAR website.

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Next meeting: What can we do about housing?

Housing is a massive issue in Brighton & Hove. House prices rose from an average of £50,000 in 1995, to £295,000 in 2015 and it has the highest share of privately renting households (32.5%) of any town and city in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics. Rents have also gone up steeply.

Many people can no longer afford to live here. In 2012 the Council found that almost 88,000 households in Brighton & Hove (72 per cent) cannot afford market housing (either to buy or rent) without some form of subsidy or spending a disproportionate level of their income on housing costs. One in 69 people in Brighton & Hove are homeless, according to Shelter.

At the last MAIS meeting we discussed what to organise this year and housing was something we were all keen to address, particularly following on from November’s talk on housing co-ops. At our next meeting on Weds 15 Feb at 7.30pm in Two Piers Housing Co-op (directions below) we will discuss and hopefully start to organise two ideas:

1) A walking or cycling tour of housing co-ops in the city in the Summer, so people can see first hand what these alternatives are like, talk to the people who set them up, and find out their limitations and possibilities.

2) A day of talks and workshops about alternatives to the current housing situation, which would bring many of the housing campaigns together for a day. This would be like the Co-operative Alternatives event we held last year, but focused just on housing. Ideas so far include having:

  • Different organisations talk about their work on homelessness
  • People talking from the Brighton Living Rent Campaign.
  • People talking from SolFed about their housing campaigns, protesting letting agents fees, rent strikes.
  • People from housing associations/council housing to speak about how they can expand the sector which provides the most affordable housing in the city.
  • Workshops on housing co-ops, community land trusts, co-housing projects and/or self-build.
  • People talking about efforts to set up a renters union in Brighton and/or getting speakers from renters unions in other cities.

Nothing is set in stone yet. If you have ideas about any of this and/or would like to help organise either of the above events, please come to our next meeting on Wednesday 15 January, 7.30pm at Two Piers, 3 Christchurch, Bedford Place, BN12QJ.

Email us on mais@riseup.net if you would like to come so we have an idea of numbers. We can also send you more detailed directions.

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Sick of landlords? How to set up a housing co-op.

Please note the change of location for this event – it will be at Coachwerks.

Brighton and Hove house prices are nearly 5 times more expensive in 2015 than in 1995 (from £50,000 to £295,000 on average) and it has the highest share of privately renting households (32.5%) of any town and city in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Rip-off rents and letting fees, damp housing, overcrowding and evictions are all too common.

Housing co-operatives are one of many ways to create more genuinely affordable and secure housing in the city.

Eventbrite - Sick of landlords? How to set up a housing co-op.

On Tuesday 29th November at 7PM at Coachwerks, Mutual Aid in Sussex have organised three people to talk about how they set up their housing co-ops and how they work:

* Andrea Jones, as project manager, is currently helping set up Bunker, a housing co-op for low-income families. She is involved with the network of Co-operative Housing in Brighton & Hove (CHIBAH).
* Allie Cannell who fairly recently helped set up Skylark, a housing co-op for young people.
* Helen Russell helped expand Two Piers, the largest and longest-running housing co-op in Brighton & Hove. Helen has clocked up 33 years of co-op living, warts and all. She is the Secretary of CHIBAH, the Chair of the Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust Steering Group, and initiated the rebirth of the Confederation of Co-operative Housing in 1991.

There will be time for both an introduction to housing co-ops as well as more in-depth advice on how to set them up. Space will be given for questions and networking.

If you’re sick of paying for the holidays of the 2% of the adult population who are landlords, or just want more affordable and secure housing, come along to this talk!

Eventbrite - Sick of landlords? How to set up a housing co-op.

Tuesday 29th November at Coachwerks. The talk will start at 7pm. FREE.

A brief introduction video to what is a housing co-op (focused on student housing co-ops, but relevant to all housing co-ops)

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Seize the Power! Bringing community renewable energy to Brighton & Hove

The next Mutual Aid in Sussex (MAIS) meeting, on Wednesday 19th October, will include a talk with Kayla Ente (Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-op – BHESCo) and Will Cottrell (Brighton Energy Co-op) about what they’ve been doing in Brighton & Hove, plans for the future, and how people can get involved.

Eventbrite - Seize the Power! Bringing community renewable energy to Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-op (BHESCo) is a not-for-profit social enterprise bringing together the community of Brighton and Hove to develop renewable energy projects, improve energy efficiency, reduce fuel bills and tackle fuel poverty.

BHESCo help homes and businesses reduce their energy costs by developing and installing renewable energy and energy efficiency systems at no upfront cost to the customer.

kayla-ente Kayla Ente, founder and CEO of BHESCo, has a distinguished career in sustainability and renewable energy, having worked for Greenpeace International, Nuon (the Dutch utility), and Ecofys (European pioneers in renewable energy). She has helped to develop wind farms in China and Spain as well as solar power projects in California and Hawaii. She moved to Brighton in 2012 and founded BHESCo in 2013. Since then BHESCo has completed 5 renewable energy projects in the Brighton area, with a further 7 new projects in development, including a ‘food waste to energy’ plant in Hangleton. Kayla and BHESCo’s grand vision is to establish a community owned renewable energy tariff available to residents of the local area

Brighton Energy Coop (BEC) is about community-owned renewable energy. Basically, we get a load of people together, everyone puts in a little bit of cash and collectively we are then able to build large scale renewable energy systems.

Money raised from selling the electricity flows back into the coop – it’s then distributed in the form of our community fund, interest to members and paying back capital. Our host sites benefit from the cheap electricity that our panels provide.

will-cottrellWill Cottrell has driven BEC forward from its inception. Overseeing both new project development and fund-raising for BEC, he has experience in the technical and financial aspects of renewable energy, as well as marketing and communications. In 2014 he was awarded Community Energy Fundraiser of the Year; in 2015 he also won the People’s Environmental Award’s prize for Energy.

Come and join us: Wednesday 19th October at Coachwerks, 19A Hollingdean Terrace, Brighton. If you can, please bring vegan food to share. The meeting will start at 7pm, with the talk from 8pm.

Eventbrite - Seize the Power! Bringing community renewable energy to Brighton & Hove

maisbhescooct2016poster

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