Government invests £60m in community-led housing schemes

'It is a massive and potentially paradigm-shifting opportunity for our sector to develop new co-operative and community-led homes'

Community housing will receive £60m from the government for capital and revenue funding. 

Housing minister Alok Sharma was speaking at the Community Led Housing conference in London, the first to bring the sector together.

He said a significant element of the funding would go towards developing an advisory network that supports community groups to bring forward projects.

The ministry will welcome applications from community groups, registered providers and other organisations from January 2018.

The programme of funding builds on the Community Housing Fund launched last year, which has awarded £60m in grants to 148 local authorities to support community-led projects.

The UK is home to over 225 Community Land Trusts, half of which have been set up over the past two years, said the minister.

Mr Sharma said realising the sector’s potential was vital to not only empower communities but also address the housing crisis facing the UK.

“Recent figures showed that the number of homes in England increased by more than 217,000 last year – the highest level of net additions since the depths of the recession.

“But you saw in February’s housing white paper, and again in last week’s ambitious Budget, that we want to go further still. That we want to build more of the right homes, in the right places, at the right prices. And I believe that community-led housing has a huge role to play in helping us to do just that.”

Nic Bliss, head of policy at the Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH), said: “The launch of the Community Housing Fund is welcome. The CCH has been working on it with government and our partners in the Community Land Trust Network and the Cohousing Network for several months. It is a massive and potentially paradigm-shifting opportunity for our sector to develop new co-operative and community-led homes and to respond to the growing numbers of people and organisations who want to develop and support our sector.”

Locality, the national network of community-led organisations, also welcomed the announcement made by the minister. The organisation is currently working with CCH as well as CLT Network, UK Cohousing Network and Self Help Housing to support community organisations to access funding and take control of building affordable housing.

Tony Armstrong, chief executive of Locality, said: “All over the country community organisations are working locally to tackle housing problems and create the affordable homes we desperately need.

“We believe community-led responses can play a bigger role in tackling our national housing crisis and we’ve been working with a range of partners to build capacity and develop solutions from the ground up. So we welcome this commitment by the Government to support the growth of community led housing. We stand ready to work with the housing minister to ensure that this fund will help communities to develop housing where it is needed most.”

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