3,500 community led homes at risk if Government doesn’t act, says National CLT Network

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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.

Can you solve the housing crisis and win £50,000!

The Richard Koch BreakThrough Prize is this year offering anyone the chance of winning £50,000 for an essay on creating a popular policy to rejuvenate our property-owning democracy.

If you fancy yourself as an ideas person, why not enter the Richard Koch BreakThrough Prize which is offering anyone the chance to win £50,000 for an essay on creating a popular policy to rejuvenate our property-owning democracy.

The competition poses the question: What market-based, popular policy would you recommend to alleviate the UK’s housing shortage, and to rejuvenate our property-owning democracy?

It’s a crucial question – not only do we need to crack the housing crises that’s seeing housing and rental costs soaring, but we need to create a solution that will allow a new generation of home owners on to the market.

Our nation is based on the fundament of property ownership, and part of the issue behind the crisis is our linking home-ownership to wealth, linking the vital necessity of a roof over our head with the building of equity.

But without a new younger generation being able to access this housing ladder, the very basis of the UK as a property-owning democracy is threatened. Do we need a whole new approach though – clearly the last 20 years have illustrated the shortfalls of the system we’ve come to rely on.

In fact, the competition points out that Home ownership rates – even amongst middle income earners – have more than halved in the past 20 years.

So the Richard Koch BreakThrough Prize, supported by the Institute of Economic Affairs, is asking anyone to come up with a policy-based solution that address the cost and inaccessibility of housing for young people.

The solution needs to be one that engages locally to combat opposition, and robust enough to stand up to the entrenched interests that dominate our housing supply model.

So if you’ve got a solution that addresses the ‘rigged’ free market, why not enter the competition by setting out your vision in a 2,000-3,000-word essay?

We know that Custom, Self-build and community-led housing has some of the most innovative and regime-threatening approaches to housing, so share your experiences for a chance to win – and promote the sector at the same time!

Not least might be the concept of making more of the legislation that we have, the Right to Build, by encouraging more people to sign up through the Right to Build Portal.

Or perhaps we should expect more of councils, such as marketing their lists or by enforcing them to actually permission the number of plots on their registers, as they are supposed to do. Time will tell whether they actually do this in October 2019, with the completion of the first three-year cycle since the commencement of the Right to Build legislation.

Find out more and enter here!