Multi-Million Pound Community Housing Fund Launched

Community-led housing schemes have received a boost thanks to a £163m government fund intended to help increase housing supply in England
by Shona Jackson
6th July 2018

The Government has made £163 million available to help self build groups across England through the Community Housing Fund.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire launched Phase One of the Fund in his first housing speech on the 2nd July 2018.

Established to increase housing supply in England, the Fund will support community self build organisations and assist them in developing affordable homes in their local area.

Funding outside of London is being allocated by Homes England across two phases, while the Greater London Authority will launch a separate program.

Phase One will provide revenue grants to assist community housing projects with planning costs and capital for site infrastructure, while Phase Two will provide capital grants for the construction of affordable housing.

Homes England is now inviting applications from community-led self build groups under Phase One.

What will the funding cover?

Costs covered in Phase One of the grant include:

Revenue funding

  • Professional costs for a community self build, including surveys, feasibility studies, and architectural and legal fees
  • Planning applications, business planning and project management
  • Activities that will lead to the conversion/refurbishment of existing buildings for housing

Capital bids for infrastructure

  • Development of infrastructure to support community housing developments, such as access roads, roundabouts, remedial groundwork and utilities
Inspired by community build project abroad, John and Jenny Kinsley decided to embark on their own scheme in Edinburgh
They created four modern homes alongside three other intrepid families. Click on the images to read more

Funding will also be available to local authorities who wish to support community-led housing projects. Grants aren’t intended to cover 100% of the costs required by a self build group. Rather, applicants are expected to contribute 10% of the estimated amount. Funding will not be awarded to schemes that are likely to proceed without funding.

If a funding bid is successful, revenue funding grants will be paid in four stages, when project development milestones are met. Capital grants for infrastructure are payable in two stages.

Terms, conditions and a detailed funding summary can be found in the Government’s Community Housing Fund prospectus.

Who can apply?

All groups who are, or intend to become, registered as a legal corporation can apply. Those eligible include, but are not limited to:

  • Registered charities
  • Community Benefit Societies
  • Co-operative Societies
  • Community Interest Companies
  • Organisations operating as a social enterprise
  • Registered Providers of social housing
  • Local authorities

Local authorities or Registered Providers of social housing may apply on behalf of community groups.

How can I apply?

Phase One of the Community Housing Fund is open for applications and will close when all funding is awarded or the 31st December 2019, whichever occurs first.

All self build community groups and organisations must submit details of their project through the Homes England bidding portal.

Assessment criteria

Funding bids will be assessed according to:

Value for money:

  • Groups are expected to request the minimum level of grant necessary, so that the Fund can support as many projects as possible
  • Bidders should demonstrate that they’ve taken full advantage of funding alternatives

Deliverability:

  • All payment instalments must be achievable by the Fund’s end date of the 31st March 2020

Strategic fit:

  • There should be evidence of community support for, and collaboration with, the project
  • The proposal should fulfil the Fund’s aims of providing affordable local housing

Dependent on the volume of applications received, Homes England expect application decisions to be made no more than 6-8 weeks after submission.

For advice on how to make an online application, see the Government’s submission guidance.

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