Building a new housing organization with the community, building community within a new housing organization

CLTB develops permanently affordable owner-occupied housing on community-controlled land. With funds from the Brussels Capital Region, we acquire land on which we develop homes for people with a low income. Houses are sold, but the land remains the property of the CLTB community. Homes remain affordable, even after the first generation of residents have sold their house, because the sale price is limited through a resale mechanism that captures surplus value. We work with very diverse multicultural groups, often composed of vulnerable families, in difficult neighbourhoods in the former industrial area around the canal.

The community is the cornerstone of our work. This is evidenced in 5 domains:

Board: Our Board of Trustees is composed of one third of current and future residents, one third of representatives of civil society and the neighbourhoods in which we operate, and one third of government representatives. Major policy orientations of our organization are decided there. We organize training sessions to help residents participate in the Board. The annual general meeting, in which about a hundred members take part, is a highlight of our year.

Design and development of construction projects: when we purchase land, we set up the group of future owners before starting the development of the project. From then on, they will come together on an almost monthly basis to help shape the project. They reflect on the architecture during workshops, training sessions prepare them for living in an energy-efficient home and manage their own houses, and during community-building activities they get to know their future neighbours. Today, we are developing methods to organize the next phase: once these families have moved, how to further support them in the management of their homes and in strengthening their community, and use the energy of these groups for the further development and growth of our organization.

Membership: our community consists of more than the people active in a project group. There are also 400 candidate buyers, a hundred supporting members, and some thirty associations with whom we work closely. Through get-togethers, cycling lessons, training courses, a collective savings program and various working groups we involve them in our activities.

Neighbourhood: we want to involve the neighbourhoods where we build our projects. Project groups organize flea markets on the site where their homes will be built, we leave vacant buildings open for temporary use, and in all our projects we try to integrate community spaces open to them.

Financing: we are actively looking for citizen financing, in addition to the government subsidies with which we acquire land and make homes affordable. In 2018 we received the first major private donations. In 2019 we will start a land-cooperative that will acquire land through citizen investment.

European Responsible Housing Awards 2019

Modalidad “More than a roof” – supporting communities of equal opportunities

Dirección Avenue de la Toison d'Or 72
1060 - Saint-Gilles