Community-led housing activists and supporters heard from the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma MP, that the Community Housing Fund, amounting to a further £240million, will be relaunched in January 2018 following its first successful year.
The Minister addressed a sell-out crowd of more than 500 delegates at the first-ever National Community-Led Housing Conference, hosted by the National Community Land Trust Network and UK Cohousing, on Monday 27 November.
The Minister’s full speech can be viewed here.
The National CLT Network and UK Cohousing, joined by CCH, led a 9 month campaign to get a decision on the Fund and Members of all organisations played an instrumental role, where more than 50 MPs contacted by groups went on to lobby the Minister.
The National CLT Network, UK Cohousing and other sector bodies have been working closely with Government on the most effective design for the next four years of the Fund. The full prospectus will be launched in January. However, the Minister confirmed that capital and revenue funding will be available and that the funding will also be used to invest and develop the local enabling services across the country that support community groups as well as to build the national infrastructure that the National CLT Network, UK Cohousing and CCH have already started to work on.
From January 2018, groups will be able to apply to Homes England for funding, with allocations announced around April 2018.
Catherine Harrington, Director at the National CLT Network, Minister for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma and Anna Kear, Executive Director at UK Cohousing
Housing Minister Alok Sharma said:
“The Community Housing Fund has been a great success in its first year, and so I am pleased to announce that we will be re-launching in the New Year.
“The Fund has helped get projects off the ground across the UK and the grants were paid to authorities that had the least affordable homes or the highest density of second homes.
“We have committed to continue to provide a further £60 million each year until at least 2019/20 which totals an investment of £240 million over four years. This is another step towards helping people get a foot on the housing ladder”
Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville MBE, Chair of the National Community Land Trust Network said:
“We are delighted that the Government has reinforced its commitment to community-led housing, recognising the valuable role it plays in delivering homes people need and diversifying the housing market.
“The Community Housing Fund is an opportunity to grow the community-led housing movement from hundreds of communities building homes, to thousands, and build a proper market for the sector.”
Stephen Hill, Chair of UK Cohousing said:
"We have welcomed working with Government on the design of the Fund and look forward to this continuing through the newly announced advisory board.
"The Government has listened to the need to develop a coherent programme for the Fund. At its heart will be capital funding for community-led housing projects and pump priming investment in a sustainable support infrastructure that gives communities the expert support they need to deliver homes and faster.
"This will create a real market that will deliver long after this Fund comes to an end.”