£4m funding boost for community-led housing

A £4m grant programme has been launched today by the government to help communities build homes in their neighbourhood.

The community-led approach involves community-based groups taking responsibility for local housebuilding. It delivers housing that is affordable locally and remains under the control of the community through land trusts or housing cooperatives.

The money will help community groups meet a range of costs incurred in trying to develop housing, including paying for searches, administration costs or legal advice, design work and planning applications.

One example, the Granby Four Streets group, have rebuilt their area in Toxteth, Liverpool, including refurbishing derelict housing, producing homes for affordable rent, shared ownership and discounted market sale to protect and sustain the area they care about.

Today’s announcement follows last week’s publication of the Bacon Review, which recommended that reigniting the Community Housing Fund will create more opportunities for communities to build.

Granby Four Streets and architect Assemble are involved in community-led projects in Toxteth (Granby Four Streets/Assemble)

Richard Bacon’s review of Custom and Self Build, commissioned by the prime minister, found that self building could deliver 30,000-40,000 more homes every year. It recommended a major scaling up of self-built homes to boost the overall housing supply.

Housing minister Christopher Pincher said: “Community-led housing is about local people playing a leading and lasting role in solving their housing problems, creating genuinely affordable homes and strong communities where mainstream housebuilders are unable to deliver.

“The Community Housing Fund has been set up to support housing schemes that are truly community-led and will last for generations to come, helping ensure we build back better.”

The Community Housing Fund Revenue Programme 2021-2022 is funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and will help community-led housing groups in the latter stages of pre-development.

The Community Led Homes Partnership (CLH) will manage the grant programme, assessing all applications and administering the grants. CLH is a partnership of four leading community-led housing organisations: Confederation of Co-operative Housing; Locality; National Community Land Trust Network; UK Cohousing Network.

Tom Chance from Community Led Homes added: “Community-led housing groups are rooted in their communities and truly understand local housing needs. There are so many fantastic community led housing projects planned across the country. This programme will help many of these projects come to fruition.”

Applications will open on 23 August 2021 and will remain open until all funds are allocated or until 31 December 2021, whichever comes first. The programme will close in March 2022 – all work funding by the grant must be completed by this date.

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