The East Midlands Homes Cooperative (EMHC) is helping ex-offenders in Nottinghamshire rebuild their lives by offering them affordable housing for rent.
The co-op has recently benefited from a £120,000 investment from the Affordable Homes Rental Fund – set up by Resonance, a company which connects social enterprises with investors. It used this to buy a three-bed property in Nottingham, which will provide supported accommodation in an area where housing costs have been increasing in recent years.
The East Midlands Homes Cooperative started in 2010 when four of the current members started volunteering. Officially incorporated in 2013, it now has 327 members across the UK, 46 of whom are active volunteers and 11 tenants in properties managed by the co-op.
Members of the co-op include various stakeholders, such as tenants, qualified builders, plumbers, electricians and other skilled labourers, who volunteer their time to the refurbishments and repairs required. They help maintain costs low by pulling skills and helping with the repair and refurbishment work. Together they have refurbished 11 homes, two of which are owned by the co-operative and nine of which are managed by it on behalf of landlords.
Osmond Okungbowa, the operations manager and a founding member at the co-operative, says: “The loan has enabled us to provide a decent shared affordable rental home for the young ex-offenders within our local community to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into their communities.”
John Williams, head of property funds at Resonance, added: “It is great to see another investment from our Affordable Homes Rental Fund and the first to a community organisation in the East Midlands region. This shows that there are amazing community groups across the country that are willing to give time, labour and indeed their own money, to get their plans off the ground.
“Our impact investment fund helps provide the much-needed investment with loan terms that make sense for a group offering affordable rents. We would like to hear from more community organisations that would like investment to get their plans off the drawing board.”