There’s Still Time To Apply For The Community Housing Fund

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E. info@burflex.co.uk

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E. info@burflex.co.uk

There’s Still Time To Apply For The Community Housing Fund

There’s Still Time To Apply For The Community Housing Fund

The deadline for the government’s Community Housing Fund, which was launched in July last year, is on the horizon – but those in the community-led housing sector still have time to apply, with just £21.1 million of the £163 million fund having been allocated and with less than a month before bidding comes to an end.

A Freedom of Information Act request, made by Inside Housing, has revealed that as of December 4th 194 applications had been allocated a share of the finance, with the biggest share going to housing co-operative Homes for Wells (£584,433). This was followed by the Peak District Rural Housing Association (£570,000) and Bristol City Council (£535,000).

City of York Council, Hull City Council, Manchester Urban CoHousing and Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust were also successful in their applications.

The aim of the fund is to increase housing supply across England by driving up the number of additional homes built by the community-led housing sector.

It also wants to provide affordable housing at local income levels and deliver a lasting legacy for this side of the housing industry through the establishment of a financially self-sustaining body of expertise within England’s housebuilding sector as a whole.

But earlier this year, the National Community Land Trust Network issued a warning, saying that the fund – first announced in 2016 – could in fact be underallocated because of delays in the bidding process opening.

It wasn’t opened until July 2018 and it is set to come to an end at the end of December 2019, which means it will have only been open for 18 months. This is despite the fact that it was expected to be worth £60 million annually over five years when first unveiled.

Community-led housing prioritises local people, giving them a leading role in solving local housing issues, while building genuinely affordable properties and strong communities, which is hard to achieve through mainstream housing.

Proposals from organisations should make sure that they focus on meaningful community engagement and consent throughout the entire development process, as well as ensuring that the local community group manages the homes in a manner of their own choosing. Projects must also clearly set out the benefits to the local area, legally protected in perpetuity.

It’s worth noting that Homes England won’t be applying a strict cap on the amount of funding that any project can receive. It’s not expected that the funding will cover 100 per cent of the total costs and bidders will need to show that they have maximised other funding sources in order to lessen the reliance on finance from central government.

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