Campaign calls for extension of Community Housing Fund

It comes despite indications that it is still scheduled to close in March 2020.

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A new campaign led by the National Community Land Trust Network is calling on the government to extend the Community Housing Fund (CHF) for five years in the upcoming Spring budget.

The fund was first announced in the 2016, with a commitment to invest £60m in the sector – with money to come from the proceeds of extra stamp duty on second home sales.

According to reports, officials made clear to that it was seen as a five-year commitment, totalling a record £300m.

The first year of the fund saw government give money to 148 local authorities, roughly in proportion to the number of second homes and the affordability crisis in their area.

But, recent reports by 24housing revealed that the government remains committed to closing the CHF – with Housing Minister Esther McVey referring a written Commons question on reversing the closure to the forthcoming budget.

The question was put by Green MP Caroline Lucas, who asked what estimate MHCLG had made of the number of homes included in applications to CHF ahead of its early closure in December 2019.

According to the reports, the Fund has helped to create a pipeline of over 16,600 homes, but community groups will “struggle to realise their plans” if it is not extended beyond March 2020.

“We are rallying our members and supporters again to campaign for the Fund to be extended so that it can support community led housing groups and the delivery of truly affordable homes in the way it was intended”, the campaign said.

“We want to see community led housing to become a mainstream housing option that is available to people across the country”, it added.

The National Community Land Trust Network (NCLTN) has called on members and supporters to campaign for CHF be extended beyond its 2019/20 timeline.

This campaign asks the government to:

  • Extend the CHF beyond 2020
  • Introduce a proportionate system of registration for Registered Providers intending to provide fewer than 100 homes
  • Ensure community led housing groups aren’t thwarted by policies or legislation that undermine the permanent affordability of a CLT, including leasehold enfranchisement, the Voluntary Right To Buy, and the Right to Shared Ownership

It also urges supporters to send a letter to the housing minister and MP’s to about the fund’s extension.

Further details about the campaign can be found here.

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