‘Life-changing’ government housing fund gets reboot

Alok Sharma confirms relaunch of the Community Housing Fund to boost ‘affordable’ building.

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The Government has confirmed that the £300m Community Housing Fund will be relaunched to boost of hundreds of aspiring community builders.

The Fund was originally announced in the 2016 Spring Budget to nurture the growing grassroots movement toward community building – and its potential to deliver thousands of ‘affordable’ homes.

Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma MP, confirmed the re-launch at the first-ever National Community-Led Housing Conference in London today (Nov 27), organised jointly by the National CLT Network and UK Cohousing.

Community-Led Housing encompasses a number of approaches including housing co-ops, community land trusts and cohousing.

Thousands of communities are now turning to it because of the housing crisis and frustration with the lack of delivery by mainstream methods.

Proposals put forward by the National CLT Network, UK Cohousing and partners will now inform the next four years of the Fund’s design.

Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville MBE, Chair of the National Community Land Trust Network said: “The Community-Led Housing movement is about to break through to the mainstream, with more and more communities across the country wanting to actively lead in building high quality homes to address their housing needs.

“Not only will the Community Housing Fund help to transform the movement – it will transform lives. We’re delighted that the Government has reinforced its commitment to the sector.”

Stephen Hill, Chair of UK Cohousing said:“It’s encouraging to hear the Minister of State for Housing and Planning speak so positively about community-led housing, stating that he wants it to see the movement delivering more of the housing that this country desperately needs.

“The announcement of the advisory board by the Minister too, will also be a great opportunity for the community-led housing sector and the Department of Communities and Local Governments to work together closer still.”

Rural housing specialists Hastoe Group say the fund could prove particularly successful in rural areas, where many young people are being priced out of their local communities.

Hastoe Chief Executive Sue Chalkley said: “This Fund is an excellent incentive to help bring forward more desperately needed affordable homes in rural areas.

“Whether delivered entirely by a housing association, by a Community Land Trust (CLT), or any other local housing arrangement, the community-led development model works and has seen the delivery of thousands of genuinely affordable homes for rural communities.

“Most importantly, these community-led projects create a sense of achievement and pride for all involved – helping other local communities to see the value of schemes like this as a viable option to keep local people in the villages they were born or grew up in.

“This is surely the way forward in helping to ease the crisis of affordability and availability currently faced by rural communities across the country.”

 

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