The Balsall Heath Housing Co-operative was formed in January of this year by a group of residents and the workers in the Balsall Heath Association. The Co-op will operate in the Balsall Heath Housing Action Area and the Cannon Hill General Improvement Area. The residents wish to own collectively,and control,their own homes. Most of the members live in privately rented accommodation, and have experienced great difficulty in persuading their landlords to do either basic repairs or improvements. A number of owner-occupiers have also shown interest,although not all of them will necessarily wish to sell their homes to the Co-operative.
FUNDS COMING In
March,the Co-op was registered as a Housing Association and an
application has been made to the Housing Corporation for the
necessary funds to purchase the houses the Co-op intends to
improve. The Housing Corporation (which is funded by the Dept.
of the Environment) has promised to make
available,initially,sufficient funding for 20 houses. The
total number of houses to be purchased and improved by the
Co-op has been limited to 50,in an effort to keep the Co-op
small and easy to manage.
FIRST HOUSES New Hestia Housing Association has agreed to act as a service agency - that is,to buy and improve the houses in the name of the Co-op. It is hoped that the first houses will be bought this month. The progress to date has been very encouraging, therefore, and membership has increased month by month. The members have put a lot of effort into making it a success,and are aware that there are still many more hurdles to overcome.