Community-Led housing in the UK

Learning from Black British and migrant histories

Claude Hendrickson and Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia

Published in Issue 4.2 // Conversations

Keywords: Collaborative housing, migration, refugees, cohousing, housing histories, construction skills, race


How might Collaborative Housing be a space that creates support and opportunities for precarious migrants, or refugees? Where examples or initiatives do exist, what kinds of challenges, barriers and -indeed- opportunities may there be for developing stronger links? This conversation is an edited summary of a video interview between Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia and Claude Hendrickson, as part of the Migration and Collaborative Housing (MICOLL) project. Speaking about his life’s work in the community-led sector in Leeds in particular, Claude shows us how there are cycles to the migrant story that are repeating themselves today in the UK, but also opening towards more hopeful spaces of opportunity. Tracing the movement from the riots of the late 1970s and early 1980s, and the first Black Housing Associations to the Community Self Build Agency and, more recently, Community Housing hubs, his experience shows how community housing work across the UK is slowly moving towards more intersectional approaches that can, in many cases, challenge mainstream views towards migrants.

Claude Hendrickson was born of Nevision parents in Leeds in 1960 and has lived all his life in the Chapeltown Area of Leeds. He has been actively involved professionally or voluntarily in his community since he was 14 in projects involving regeneration, housing and construction, education, youth clubs, youth mentoring, and NVQ (national Vocational Qualification) Training.

Melissa Fernández Arrigoitia is a sociologist and urban researcher who focuses on the home as a critical realm of inquiry where historical desires, everyday life and future aspirations intersect. She has long-standing research interests in how collaborative housing movements – and the ideologies and practices embedded in them- may be offering micro-examples of how to reorganize social relations through citizen-led urban housing development and, in this way, potentially be offering an anti-crisis economic, political and social orientation and practice. She is a founding member of the RHJ.

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