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A peer exchange took place from Monday 19 September through to Friday 23 September 2016 to World Habitat Awards winners Self-Help Housing in the North of England, UK.

This award-winning work is delivered by Canopy and Giroscope, two housing charities that train homeless and vulnerable people to renovate abandoned properties and bring them back into use. Both organisations purchase or lease long-term empty properties and bring them back into use with the help of volunteers, who often also end up living in the renovated houses. The programmes provide low-cost, high-quality, permanently affordable and energy efficient housing for low-income communities. You can see more about their achievements in this video.

A group of 12 practitioners from five different countries working on empty properties and homelessness attended the five-day visit to Canopy and Giroscope’s award-winning work in the cities of Leeds and Hull.  The participants were from the following organisations and countries:

Choices for Youth, Canada

Homes First, Canada

ENLACE del Caño Martin Peña, Puerto Rico

Savage + Dodd Architects, South Africa

Rais Fundación, Spain

Provivienda, Spain

Habitat3, Spain

Patronat Municipal de l’Habitatge, Spain

Detroit Land Bank Authority, USA

California Coalition for Rural Housing, USA

Life Remodeled, USA

The peer exchange included presentations and discussions on the various aspects of Canopy and Giroscope’s work as well as field visits to see the housing solutions. Throughout the visit, participants were also able to share their knowledge and experiences with each other as well as with the hosts.

A video highlighting participants’ key learning points and reflections will be produced as a follow-up to this peer exchange.  If you would like to receive further information about this peer exchange, including follow up activities, please sign up to our e-news.

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