Government Grant and Loan Programmes

The Government currently operate some grant and loan programmes that CLTs can apply for. The programmes available vary as to whether you are in England, Wales or in Greater London.

England

Community Housing Fund

On the 23rd December 2016 the Government announced the first year of this fund, allocating £60 million to 148 local authorities to support community-led housing.

The 148 local authorities received half their allocation up front, without strings attached, and will receive the second half upon providing the Government with plans that meet the fund's objectives.

What this means is that if your local authority has received funding you can make a bid to cover any reasonable costs, from start up grants through loans and grants to get you to planning and capital to subsidise any affordable housing. You can see a full list of the 148 local authorities in this PDF. Note that the allocations vary widely, from £5,000,000 to £5,000!

So if your local authority received funding, it would be best to contact them and open a discussion about your project.

In future years the funding is expected to be allocated in a different fashion, through a central framework.

Affordable Homes Programme 2016-21

The Affordable Homes Programme, managed by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), subsidises the development of new shared ownership homes or other affordable homes.  £4.7 billion of capital grant is available between 2016 and 2021. The initial intention was for this fund to deliver at least:

  • 135,000 homes for Help to Buy: Shared Ownership
  • 10,000 homes for Rent to Buy
  • 8,000 homes for specialised housing.

However, in the Autumn Statement 2017 the Government signalled that the fund would be available for affordable rent homes as well.

Full details of the programme and how to bid for funding are published in the prospectus

The Home Building Fund

The £3 billion Home Building Fund was launched in October 2016 and is a flexible source of funding administered by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) on behalf of government. It aims to increase the number of new homes being built in England. As well as helping larger builders and developers, the Fund is also open to small builders, community builders, including CLTs, custom builders and regeneration specialists.

The Fund provides:

  • Developer Finance - Loan funding to meet development costs of building homes for sale or rent.
  • Infrastructure Finance - Loan funding for site preparation and the infrastructure needed to enable housing to progress and prepare land for development.

As the HCA wants to encourage innovation both in the kind of homes that are built and the way they are delivered, financing is available to support community-led housing projects, services plots for custom and self-builders, off-site manufacturing, new entrants to the market and groups of small firms working in consortia to deliver larger sites.

How the Home Building Fund works

The flexible approach to structuring loans enables the HCA to provide finance on both a short term and long term basis. More information about the Home Building Fund can be found on GOV.UK

All lending requires appropriate security and loans are typically sourced against property assets. 

Key features of the Fund:

  • Loans of £250,000 to £250 million available with smaller loans considered for innovative housing solutions and serviced plots for custom builders;
  • Typical terms up to 5 years for development finance and up to 20 years for infrastructure loans;
  • Interest payable at transparent, pre-agreed variable rates;
  • Sales income can be recycled to minimise the loan request;
  • subordinated lending will be considered;
  • finance available to draw down up to 31 March 2021
  • eligible costs will be discussed with each applicant and depend on the type of funding requested

Who can apply?

Finance is available to all private sector organisations involved in delivering new homes and the provision of enabled sites ready for residential led schemes.

The Fund has a few core eligibility criteria:

  • Applicants will need to demonstrate that without this funding the scheme would not progress or progress as quickly, or at all;
  • Developments must be in England;
  • The borrower must be a private sector entity which has majority control of the site;
  • Development projects must build a minimum of 5 homes;
  • The borrower must be a UK registered corporate entity;
  • Infrastructure projects must ultimately lead to the development of new housing;
  • The minimum investment the Fund will make is £250,000, except in the case of innovative housing solutions and serviced plots for custom builders.

You do not have to be a Registered Provider to access this funding. 

At the point at which a loan offer is made, applicants are normally required to have a controlling interest in the land and a clear route to achieving planning consent.

How do you apply?

The first step is to contact the HCA – you can do this online, or by email, phone or post (see below). The HCA will take some details, and if your project appears to meet the eligibility criteria you will be put in touch with a member of the HCA’s investment team who will help you make your application. Usually this will happen within 4 working days from when the enquiry is made.  

  • Online - Gov.uk/homebuildingfund. Complete a short form to request a call back or to register your interest
  • Telephone - 0300 1234 500
  • Email - homebuildingfund@hca.gsi.gov.uk
  • Post - Home Building Fund, Homes and Communities Agency, Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF

If you are eligible you will then move onto due diligence. 

The purpose of due diligence is to understand the project delivery plan, project finance, loan security and how the applicant will repay the HCA loan. At the end of the due diligence, a decision will be made by HCA to invest or not. Any conditions attached to the HCA approval to invest will need to be satisfied prior to the drawdown of any funding.

Prioritisation

As a government-backed initiative, the Home Building Fund also reflects wider government priorities.  The HCA are looking for:

  • the best value for money for the taxpayer
  • the greatest potential for early delivery
  • clear local support
  • projects that support policy priorities such as Housing Zones, brownfield development and diversification and innovation in the housing market
  • projects that support wider government housing priorities, such as starter homes, estate regeneration, Garden Villages and Towns and making use of available public sector land.

Greater London

The Mayor's Housing Covenant 2015-18 

A grant programme for affordable rent and shared ownership homes that is managed by the Greater London Authority (GLA), which administers housing grant for schemes located within Greater London.

Initial allocations were made in July 2014, and the fund is now open to further applications. To find out more about the Mayor's Housing Covenant, go to: https://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/housing-land/increasing-housing-supply/mayor-housing-covenant-2015-2018

Wales 

For CLTs in Wales, the Welsh Government Programme provides grant to support the following kinds of development:

  • Rent or low cost home ownership schemes
  • Regeneration schemes in areas of low demand
  • Schemes for older people
  • Independent living schemes

To learn more about this programme, go to: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/housing-and-regeneration/grants-and-funding/socialhousinggrant/?lang=en

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