Money houses

Government has announced a new £4m Community Housing Fund, a grant programme specifically aimed at increasing community led affordable housing.

Launched by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher, the grant fund is effectively an extension of the Community Housing Fund that continue to offer community-led housing groups improved access to high quality, affordable housing that meets the needs of local communities.

Launched by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher MP, the fund will help community groups meet a range of costs as they work to develop housing to meet their needs. This could fund a range of elements, such as professional costs including searches and advice, design work and planning applications.

The Community Housing Fund was originally launched in 2016 with a £60million annual pot, originally focussed on communities affected by second home ownership, before having its remit spread to community led housing in general.

The new extension to the fund follows lobbying work by the Community Led Housing partners and a range of groups and stakeholders – work that continues to apply pressure ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year. Specifically, the £4m extension will enable support the many community led housing schemes which can prove their deliverability and are at the later stages of pre-development.

Housing Minister Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP said: “Community-led housing is about local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving their housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities where mainstream housebuilders are unable to deliver.

“The Community Housing Fund has been set up to support housing schemes that are truly community-led and will last for generations to come, helping ensure we build back better.”

The Community Led Homes Partnership will manage the grant programme, which includes Confederation of Co-operative Housing, Locality, National Community Land Trust Network and
UK Cohousing Network.

Tom Chance, Community Land Trust Network Chief Executive said: “Community led housing groups are rooted in their communities and truly understand local housing needs. There are so many fantastic projects planned across the country. This programme will help many of these projects come to fruition.

“This extension is very welcome news. But we know there are potentially 23,000 homes in the pipeline and without further Community Housing Fund most will not happen. So our campaign calling for the fund to be renewed for a further 4 years continues.”

Tony Armstrong from Community Led Homes adds that “it’s well known that there is a shortage of genuinely affordable, high quality housing in England. We believe community led housing can, and should, play a central role in solving this problem. The CLH partnership is proud to be managing this programme on behalf of MHCLG.”

Applications are now open and will remain open until funds are allocated or until 31 December 2021, whichever occurs first. All work funding by the grant must be completed by the close date of March 2022.

To apply complete an eligibility checker on the Community Led Homes website. Eligible groups will then be emailed an online grant application form.

The announcement of the fund follows the publication of the Bacon Review which recommended that reigniting the Community Housing Fund will create more opportunities for communities to build.

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