The future of the multi-million-pound Community Housing Fund has been secured, with revenue funding to help groups reach planning stage and capital for site infrastructure such as roads and utilities being launched.
Secretary of State, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, confirmed that the Fund – the biggest investment the sector has seen in over 30 years – will continue in his maiden speech on housing, Making the Housing Market Work, at Policy Exchange on Monday 2 July.
In a change from the first year of the Fund, Homes England will now manage and assess applications. The funding will come in two phases: revenue grants to help community led housing groups to fund planning stages and capital for infrastructure; followed by capital grants for the construction of affordable housing
The five-year Fund, which was initially launched in December 2016, has encountered many delays caused by the snap election in 2017 and subsequent Cabinet and Ministerial changes at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The news has been welcomed by the National CLT Network, which has campaigned for investment in the sector together with its members and partners for a number of years. The Network will continue to campaign for the Fund to be extended, given the delays, to ensure community led housing groups can benefit fully from the Fund.
Work to develop the national infrastructure which will further help community led housing to thrive is also continuing. These projects, including a single website for community led housing, a strengthened and growing network of local enabling hubs and additional small grants programme are being delivered by the National CLT Network and its partners: the Confederation of Cooperative Housing, Locality and UK Cohousing.
Tom Chance, Director at the National CLT Network, said:
“The community led housing sector has been on tenterhooks for some time now and I’m delighted that the Government has made good on its commitment to support communities up and down the country wanting to deliver affordable housing for themselves.
“Community led housing is a grassroots movement, built on community pride, compassion and a determination to sustain and strengthen local areas. Every community is different, and it’s the communities themselves that are best placed to understand and deliver the housing solutions that are needed.
“The Community Housing Fund will be transformational for the movement. Not only will the investment support many existing projects to get off the ground and get building it will create a legacy to inspire future generations of the movement to learn from too.”