Homes England is inviting applications from a range of organisations to its new £163 million fund that is available across England, excluding London.

The £163 million Community Housing Fund aims to support the delivery of new affordable homes up to 31 March 2020.

Specifically, it will expand the housing supply through community led sectors, provide housing that’s affordable for local incomes, and aims to deliver a lasting legacy for the community housing sector through building an effective body of expertise within the housebuilding industry.

To ensure that the schemes supported by the Community Housing Fund are truly community-led, proposals should ensure that:

  • Meaningful community engagement and consent occurs throughout the development process. The community does not necessarily have to initiate and manage the process, or build the homes themselves, though some may do.
  • The local community group or organisation owns, manages or stewards the homes and in a manner of their choosing, and this may be done through a mutually supported arrangement with a Registered Provider that owns the freehold or leasehold for the property.
  • The benefits to the local area and/or specified community must be clearly defined and legally protected in perpetuity.

There are two phases to the fund.

  • Phase one of the Community Housing Fund will support applications for revenue grants to assist community groups with the costs involved in the pre-development stage of community-led housing projects. Local authorities can also bid for revenue funding to support capacity-building activities for community-led groups in their areas. In addition, local authorities can bid for capital funding for small-scale infrastructure projects, such as roundabouts or pumping stations, to unlock sites that the community can then develop for housing.
  • Phase two is expected to be launched later this year by Homes England, who will invite bids for capital funding to develop community-led affordable housing schemes.

Homes England has been working with leading organisations in the community-led housing sector to shape the new fund.

Commenting on the new fund, Tom Chance, Director at the National Community Land Trust Network, said:

“The new Community Housing Fund will provide long-lasting opportunities for communities everywhere so they can go out and build the homes they really want and need.”

Applications will be accepted until the funding is fully committed or until 31 December 2019, whichever occurs first.

A separate programme for London will be delivered by the Greater London Authority. This is in addition to £60 million of funding that has already been allocated directly by Government to 148 councils in December 2016.

Full details of the Community Housing Fund are available on the GOV.UK website.

Source: Homes England, 03/07/2018

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