Government to allocate £163m to Community Housing Fund

'Community-led housing is about local people playing a leading role in solving local housing problems to provide affordable homes and strengthen communities'

The community-led housing sector will benefit from £163m in funding from the UK government’s Community Housing Fund, to help provide housing that is affordable at local income levels.

Launched in 2016, the Community Housing Fund aims to support an increase in housing supply in England by boosting the number of additional homes delivered by the community-led housing sector. Since then, around £60m has been awarded in grants to 148 local authorities to support community-led projects.

Homes England will manage and assess applications from outside London across two phases, with a separate programme for London to be delivered by the Greater London Authority.

A Community Housing Fund prospectus published on 2 July includes details of the phases and how to bid.

Homes England chief executive, Nick Walkley, said: “Community-led housing is about local people playing a leading role in solving local housing problems to provide affordable homes and strengthen communities in ways that aren’t always possible to achieve through mainstream housing.

“At Homes England, we’re determined to increase the supply of homes across all tenures and increase capacity in the housing sector. This is a really important fund, which will offer lasting impact and we look forward to receiving bids from community groups across England.”

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, said: “We’re delighted the government has recognised the vital role community-led housing can play in delivering much-needed affordable housing. It’s the fastest growing new form of housing in the country. 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.”

The Community Housing Fund is available to community-led groups across England to support delivery of new affordable homes up to 31 March 2020. These can be local authorities or Registered Providers of social housing, including housing co-operatives.

Under phase one, community groups will be able to send applications for support with the costs involved in the pre-development stage of community-led housing projects.

Local authorities can also bid for funding to support capacity-building activities for community-led groups in their areas, as well as capital funding for small-scale infrastructure projects to unlock sites that the community can then develop for housing.

Bidding for Phase One of the Fund is now open on the Homes England Portal.

The second phase of the fund will invite bids for capital funding to develop community-led affordable housing schemes.

Blase Lambert, chief officer of the Confederation of Co-operative Housing (CCH), said: “The Community Housing Fund represents a once-in-a-generation investment from government in our sector. It is an opportunity for the co-operative and community housing sector to develop new homes and help communities meet their housing needs in England.”

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