BACKGROUND: The five-year £300m Community Housing Fund was first announced in the 2016 Spring Budget and its official launch in December 2016 created lots of excitement.
However, the snap election that took place in May 2017 caused serious delays on how the Fund would be designed from year two onwards. The lack of information from Government on this matter created huge uncertainty and left many people anxious on the Fund's future.
The National CLT Network took a leading role in influencing officials and lobbying Government for a decision on the Fund and its design. We mobilised our members to engage more than 50 MPs, who then wrote to or tabled questions to the Housing Minister. The Network also lobbied key MPs directly.
UPDATE: Following a long campaign, the future of the Community Housing Fund was confirmed in November 2017.
The continuation of the Community Housing Fund, amounting to £180million over the next three years, was announced by the former Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma, at our joint National Community-Led Housing Conference on Monday 27 November 2017.
Read more about the announcement here
The Fund will transform the community-led housing sector and is expected to deliver 10,000 homes by 2021.
We advocated for the following four elements of the Fund:
- Revenue funding for groups to pay for professional services and fees to get to planning and on site;
- Capital grant funding to make your scheme viable and to deliver affordable homes;
- Investment in a national network of local enabling organisations who provide that vital one to one support to groups, foster a supportive local policy and funding environment and broker delivery partnerships;
- Co-investment in the national infrastructure for community-led housing, including: 1) a single platform for community-led housing, making it easier for the public to find information on all community-led housing approaches; 2) a training and quality-mark programme for community-led housing advisers, making sure groups receive the best quality advice, no matter their location, and 3) support for the network of local enablers.
We understand that Government has committed to the Fund including all four elements.
The capital and revenue funding will be made available through Homes England in early 2018. The National CLT Network and partners are currently liaising with officials at both the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and Homes England on the design of the funding prospectus, as well as the Greater London Authority on how the Fund will operate in London. Please look out for news on the launch of the prospectus.
In addition, as part of a partnership with UK Cohousing, Confederation of Cooperative Housing and Locality, we have also put in a proposal to MHCLG to deliver the national infrastructure and administer the grants to local enablers.
In January 2018, following a Cabinet reshuffle, Dominic Raab MP was appointed as the new Minister of State for Housing.
In February 2018 we wrote to the new Minister, extending our thanks on the recent relaunch of the Community Housing Fund and highlighting measures that would maximise the delivery of the Fund. The letter is available to read at the bottom of this page.
If you'd like to also write to the Minister on the Fund, please download the template letter.