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It Takes a City Community Land Trust

Somewhere to Call Home – a request for land and support

It Takes a City began in November 2018 when 150 senior influencers from Cambridge and surrounding districts met at St Paul’s Church to find new ways to eliminate rough sleeping due to homelessness by working together as a community. A number of projects and collaborations have resulted around information, housing, support and employment.


Request for land and support

Land in Cambridge and the immediate surrounds for these purposes is hard to come by. We have begun the planning process for temporary permission for 20 modular homes and a community building on a site at Milton.

The site is currently green belt so not without its challenges, but we press on. We are talking to one or two churches in Cambridge that may have land for smaller schemes. We are working on raising the finance to build the first few homes off-site regardless of location.

Does your church have land that is not being fully used?

Would you like to see some income from the land, whether by rental or sale?

Would you like to see the land used to provide safe affordable supported homes for rough sleepers in small communities?

Might you be able to provide financial or people support to the project?

Might it be a project the church takes on with our help and the help of our network of partners?

If there is any way you may be able to help, or have any questions, do please contact Chris Jenkin on 07831 547 643.

Further Background

Last year, the It Takes a City housing group decided that for the next 10-15 years there is an annual need for 20-50 new homes to provide accommodation specifically for rough sleepers: both those on the streets and those in the local hostel system waiting for a home to go to or move on to.

The It Takes a City Community Land Trust (CLT) was formed, as a vehicle to raise social finance to buy or build these homes, to provide the support and the environment needed to flourish, and to manage land and housing assets in perpetuity.

Our current focus is placing modular homes on “meanwhile” or permanent land that will not or cannot be used for traditional market or affordable housing, to create micro-communities where former rough sleepers can feel at home, safe, secure and with access to the support needed. Tenants will have access to community-based volunteer-led support schemes being developed by other It Takes a City groups, as well as professional support from local agencies, to address the issues that brought our residents to homelessness and prevent their return to the streets. It is also important that as people get back into employment that they can continue to afford to stay in their home. We will have the flexibility to provide truly affordable rents.

The six modular homes project on land at Christ the Redeemer in Cambridge, developed by Allia, New Meaning Foundation and Jimmy’s, is a very good illustration of what can be done. Our projects will be very similar and most of the key players in the Christ the Redeemer project are Members of the new CLT.


Many of you will know that up to 150 rough sleepers in Cambridge were offered accommodation in hotels and similar facilities when lockdown started at the end of March (2020). This has shone a spotlight on the level of rough sleeping in the city and has also generated a huge collective effort by the City Council and others to ensure that as far as possible no-one has to return to the streets.

The new CLT is a private / third / faith sector contribution to the effort to develop, purchase or lease lands and houses that can used to provide the immediate and longer-term accommodation needed for all, including of course those many in the hostel system who need a home to go to.

At the present time we do not know the impact of COVID-19 on homelessness as the furlough and business support schemes wind down and the economy repositions around new working and leisure patterns.


It Takes A City Community Land Trust is an exempt charity registered under the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 as a Community Benefit Society. Registration number 8427. Registered Address: 78 Hinton Way, Great Shelford, Cambridge, CB22 5AL

Page last updated: Wednesday 23rd September 2020 2:26 PM
First published on: 23rd September 2020
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