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Government announces £6m boost to community-led housing

Housing minister Kit Malthouse MP has announced a £6m government funding programme to help communities across the country build homes in their areas.

The Community Led Homes programme will be managed by four leading housing charities and will provide local people funding, training and advice to build community-led housing developments.

Through the programme, community groups can apply for grants of up to £10,000 to cover start-up costs such as legal fees, while over £3.5m will be invested in community-led housing hubs which will provide technical advice and support.

The new programme forms part of the government’s stated aim of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Malthouse said: ‘For too long, governments of all stripes have failed to build the homes our country needs, but we are turning that around.

‘Last year we delivered over 222,000 homes but we need to deliver more good quality properties, and the community-led housing programme will help us do just that.

‘Alongside £6m of funding, the programme will also provide crucial training and advice to local groups, ensuring that we are not just building better homes but also building better communities.’

The £6m the government will commit to the Community Led Homes programme will be spread across two years, with £2m allocated this year and £4m expected in the 2019-20 financial year.

It is expected that the Community Led Home programme will be of benefit to housing groups, councils and local developers as they look to get building.

The National Community Land Trust Network – one of the programme’s four managing charities alongside the Confederation of Co-operative Housing, Locality and UK Cohousing – said that the group is committed to creating a ‘lasting legacy’ in community-led housing.

Samantha Jones, Head of Programmes and Development at National CLT and Head of Community Led Homes, said: “Communities want to play their part in tackling the country’s affordable housing crisis and many are forming community-led housing groups to do so.

‘In the next five years, the movement will build over 5,000 affordable homes. We’ve created the Community Led Homes programme to help this figure increase further still, and in time, for community led housing to become a mainstream housing option.’

The Community Led Homes programme is intended to supplement the government’s £163m Community Housing Fund, which launched last year.

The Community Housing Fund is due to close this December just 17 months after opening, putting 3,546 affordable homes that have already been designed at risk as their construction costs may no longer be covered.

The National CLT have called for the Fund to be extended past 2020 at least in this year’s Spending Review, saying it would be a ‘terrible waste’ for community-led housing if the homes were to be shelved.

Last month London mayor Sadiq Khan launched London’s own £38m Community Housing Fund which is hoped will unlock 500 community-led homes in the capital by 2023.

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