“Housing can be discussed from economic, social, planning and political perspectives. However, the human aspect of housing is the paramount one. It is the one which, while inextricably intertwined with all the others, at the same time takes priority over them. It is for the betterment of the human aspect that all other aspects should be considered and made to conform.”

Frank Moloney, Cork County Council, 1982

"Community-Led Housing is an example of bottom-up, active citizenship as its best, with the potential to put the humanistic perspective of housing provision centre stage, with communities and citizens at the heart of neighbourhood development, embracing the idea of homes as a social good."

President Michael D. Higgins

"What we’re aiming for here is neighbourhoods. It has partly to do with architecture, partly to do with geography, but it also has very much to do with human participation. Society is opening up to people living as active citizens in a participative society, and how are we going to embody that? How are we going to build that?"

Patrick Lydon

“We aim to address the climate crisis through a Meitheal of community action, on land placed into ecological trust. Our primary object is ecological regeneration through the democratic stewardship of land for the benefit of the community. Secondary objects include benefitting the community through provision of housing and amenities."

Irish Regenerative Land Trust

“We are addressing the need for affordable housing in the context of rural regeneration and climate resilience. We have adopted a community-led approach as we are a cooperative, and want to demonstrate the possibility of cooperation, community ownership, and affordability in the framework of the largest Irish community-led development - Cloughjordan Ecovillage."

Cloughjordan CoHousing

“With the fracture and fragmentation of families and small communities, it is time for more people-led initiatives in terms of creating safe and thriving living environments. We are looking for a development that has been designed with community integration built in. We are looking for housing that is sustainable in every way.”

Common Ground CoHousing

“Housing is the precondition to other rights, and without housing other rights are empty. We work with people who through no fault of their own have no current full-time work, or the future prospect of the same. We build people's capacity to fully participate together on projects in a reflective way that respects all who contribute whatever their skills or abilities.”

Hope & Homes

“The homeless, low income or those living in very inappropriate accommodation, are more than willing to help themselves and others to improve their housing situation. They have skills and personal assets to do this. CLH approaches provide connectivity to local communities, serving their particular needs and strengthening social cohesion.”

Hope & Homes

“We call it the opposite of NIMBY – but it could be called PIMBY – ‘Positively In My Back Yard.’ I’m interested to live next door to people with disabilities, with foreigners, with elderly people, and that that mix is a healthy mix. And it actually makes life better for everybody involved.”

Inclusive Neighbourhoods

About the project

This publication series is the result of a 12-month multi-stakeholder research project to inform and support the establishment of a Community-Led Housing (CLH) infrastructure in Ireland.

The research is intended to explain the concept, and to inform policy decisions which can facilitate a broad variety of approaches to CLH. The handbooks identify current financial and legal roadblocks and suggest measures to address these. Recommendations are founded on comprehensive research of supportive policy for Community-Led Housing in the EU and the UK which empower communities to develop solutions addressing their particular housing needs.


SOA is a not-for-profit action research think tank, formed in 2017 to research and promote cooperative and collaborative approaches to housing in Ireland. We study proven and successful UK, European and North American strategies and look at how these might be adapted to Ireland.

The video above provides a short introduction to the concept of Community-Led Housing, and introduces some of the groups implementing this approach across Ireland.


The handbooks

The publication consists of a series of five handbooks, each one targeted for a specific audience.

The OVERVIEW handbook provides an introduction and summary of the entire project, and is intended as a starting point to assist readers in identifying the sections you are interested in.

This handbook includes SOA’s ‘Master Roadmaps’, and profiles of the eight Irish Community-Led Housing groups who participated as stakeholders in the project. It summarises the project Recommendations, and proposes a description of Community-Led Housing for the Irish context, as a starting point for official recognition of this approach.

The subsequent four handbooks below focus on specific topics, and break down the information into digestible segments for various audiences.


The Handbooks are free to download and are published under a Creative Commons license.

To download a handbook, please click on its icon.


# 2

Summarising the policy context which supports CLH in countries such as the UK, Germany, Belgium and France. This handbook recommends policy initiatives to support the sector in Ireland, and is intended as guidance for Irish policymakers.

# 3

Examining available financial approaches for CLH in Ireland and recommending measures to ensure a viable sector. This handbook includes Case Studies from across Europe, and is intended as guidance for Irish policymakers and financial institutions.

# 4

Describing sustainable approaches to land management which facilitate the creation of homes that are affordable in perpetuity. This handbook is intended as guidance for Irish local authorities, land management agencies and other landowners.

# 5

Providing an Early-Stage Guide to developing a CLH project, including practical guidance on key steps of the process. This handbook is intended to support and prepare Irish Community-Led Housing groups.

Project Sponsors

Project Stakeholders