Jobless people looking to learn a trade and put a roof over their head at the same time are being offered help by West Oxfordshire District Council.
Councillors have given the green light for a pilot version of a Community Self-Help Project which would see ‘hard to let’ larger properties turned into shared accommodation for single under 35-year-olds, particularly those out of work.
The individuals will work on transforming the buildings into houses in multiple occupation, learning new skills as they go before living in the property. Two apprenticeships will also be made available to those involved.
Homes operated by Cottsway Housing Association have already been identified and this week the Council’s Cabinet agreed the pilot scheme should go ahead.
Cllr Jeanette Baker, Cabinet Member for Community and Public Health at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Unemployed people really struggle to find a home of their own but this will give them the opportunity of not only having somewhere to live but also to learn new skills that will help them find work.
“It is a win-win situation for those involved and we look forward to working with the first group of applicants.”
The Council was allocated £376,966 from the Government’s £60m Community Housing Fund which was announced in the 2016 Budget and applies to areas where the impact of second homes is particularly acute.
The scheme also involves a two-year Community Housing Delivery Project which will encourage community groups along with parish and town councils to play a major role in the ownership, management or stewardship of affordable housing developments.
Having been approved by Cabinet, the proposal is subject to call-in by full Council.