We are calling for the Community Housing Fund to be extended!
We are calling on our members and supporters to campaign for the multi-million Community Housing Fund to be extended beyond 2019/20.
The Fund could help communities build over 16,600 homes in the next few years, but most will not make it if the Fund closes in December 2019.
Envisaged as a five-year fund, delays have meant the Fund will only be open to bids for 18 months.
The Government has said community led housing can play a key role in delivering additional housing stock, which the country so desperately needs.
Together with our members, we were instrumental in securing the £300 million Community Housing Fund which was originally announced in the 2016 Spring Budget.
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.
Bids for funding currently need to be in by December 2019. This tight deadline means fewer groups than anticipated will benefit from the Fund, jeopardising the number of homes that could be built or brought back into use.
We want to see community led housing to become a mainstream housing option that is available to people across the country.
Our campaign asks:
Extend the Community Housing Fund 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.
Play your part in campaigning for long-term continuation of the Community Housing Fund:
Read our briefing explaining why it's necessary that the Community Housing Fund goes beyond 2020.
Download the template email below to send to your MP about the Community Housing Fund. (Please let us know when you have contacted your MP and any responses you get back.)
Download the second email template below for your MP to send to the Treasury, and include it in your email.
What is available
The Community Housing Fund is managed by Homes England and consists of two parts: revenue funding to help cover costs to help groups secure planning permission and capital funding to make sites viable for housing.
Please note: Currently, bids to the Community Housing Fund close December 2019
Background on the Fund
The Community Housing Fund was first announced in the 2016 Spring Budget, with a commitment to invest £60m in the sector. The money was to come from the proceeds of extra stamp duty on second home sales. Officials made clear to us that this was seen as a five year commitment, totalling a record £300m.
The first year of the fund was officially launched on the 23 December 2016. The Government gave money to 148 local authorities, roughly in proportion to the number of second homes and the affordability crisis in their area. We worked with Government and other sector bodies to provide guidance and support to those local authorities, but their use of the money has been mixed. Members can download a report on the first year of the fund in the 'member briefings' section of the members' area.
We lobbied Ministers and worked with officials from the spring of 2016 to secure a more sensible design for the Fund. Our members wrote to their MPs several times, and over 50 MPs and Peers wrote to the Minister and tabled written and oral questions. The topic was even raised at Prime Minister's Questions.
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.
We proposed that the Fund be designed around four streams of funding:
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 hubs which 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 website 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) national support for the network of local enablers.
In November 2017, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Alok Sharma, attended our national conference, where he announced the next three years of the fund (£180m from 2017-20). He also committed to these four elements of the programme, making clear that this design would scale up the sector's capacity and supply chains.
The Fund will transform the community-led housing sector and is expected to deliver 10,000 homes by 2021.
We have maintained contact with Ministers (who come and go!) and with officials throughout, and have secured the commitment of successive Ministers to the fund with the help of our members.