The National Community Land Trust Network has reported that the 3,500 community led homes already in the Community Housing Fund application process could be in jeopardy if the scheme isn’t extended. It’s calling for people to support its campaign to persuade the treasury to lengthen its lifespan.
A Freedom of Information request to Homes England by the National CLT Network revealed that there are over 3,500 community led homes in the Community Housing Fund pipeline, waiting to have the funding applications reviewed.
While this represents excellent progress, as the Community Housing Fund has only been operational for nine months, the National CLT Network warns that closing the scheme in December 2019 (with the exception of London) could seriously jeopardise this growth.
It reports that most of the CLTs bringing forward these affordable homes will need access to capital funding that will extend well into 2020 and beyond, in order to complete the homes.
“The number might seem small in the scheme of things. But these are homes being developed to meet very particular needs of communities. They matter, and the people behind them will be devastated if the Government pulls the rug from under them,” commented the National CLT Network.
“Groups building standard types of affordable housing, like affordable rent and shared ownership, will still be able to bid for the mainstream affordable homes funding. But innovative approaches won’t qualify, and new groups will lose access to unique revenue funding to develop their plans.”
The current Community Housing Fund has a £163 million funding that was set up to increase the supply of homes in England brought about by innovative community methods, especially those that provide affordable homes pegged at local income levels.
The National CLT Network worked with the Government to design the current programme, stressing the contribution that the community led housing movement could make to housing supply.
Intended to be a five-year fund, delays in the launch means that this aspect of the fund will only be open to bids for 18 months. This is not sufficient time for CLTs, which are mostly powered by volunteers, to get the necessary tasks done prior to being able to build.
The Greater London Authority recently announced London’s £38 million Community Housing Fund, which operates separately from Homes England. The London scheme stays open until 2023.
The National CLT Network is keen for CLT members to engage their MPs, and has some tips for how you can do this on its website.