There is a Quechuan word I learnt years ago during my time volunteering on a community building project in Peru, the concept of which has stayed with me since. "Aynikuy" means, roughly speaking, "to contribute labour to a task to which all parties are mutually committed". It's the way a lot of jobs were accomplished in the Inca Empire, including all those superb terraces and fortresses around Cuzco, and Quechua communities still practice it today when there is work to be done. Last year, when Habitat for Humanity met with communities and local government under-secretary Andrew Stunell, we emphasised the important role community groups and social enterprises play in bringing empty homes back into use as affordable housing. We are now in a position to access over £25m of funding from a £100m government pot for just such a purpose. An interesting by-product of the government's attempts to address the problem of empty homes is the infiltration of new set of values and priorities into the social housing arena; housing providers and...