Remember that there are increasing opportunities for affordable housing through the remaining unallocated funding within the SOAHP – Shared Ownership Affordable Housing Programme. Partners are therefore encouraged to speak to Homes England Contract and Relationship Managers at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss project requirements and grant needs to be taken through continuous market engagement (CME). It is also worth noting that the details of Social Rent and HRA headroom are still subject to ministerial sign off. Homes England will share updates with partners in the coming weeks and months.
Further to the SOAHP, Homes England has reopened bidding for the Department of Health – Care & Support Specialist Housing fund (CASSH) through continuous market engagement (CME). Under CASSH, CME capital grants will be provided to support and accelerate the development of specialist affordable housing which meets the needs of older people and adults with disabilities or mental health problems. As this will be a continuation of the existing fund the funding requirements will remain unchanged from previous bid rounds, with a published prospectus already in place. Funding will be made available over the next three financial years to 2020/21. As with SOAHP, bidding is through IMS. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/care-and-support-specialised-housing-fund If you would like to know more then please speak to Homes England Contract and Relationship managers at the earliest possible opportunity.
In addition, Homes England is pleased to be soon launching the Community Housing Fund. The £163 million fund will soon be available to community-led groups across England to support delivery of new affordable homes up to 31st March 2020. Community-led housing groups will be able to bid for revenue funding to build capacity in their organisations and to assist them with the costs involved in the pre-development stage of projects. Local Authorities will also be able to bid for funds to support capacity-building activities for community-led groups in their areas and bid for capital funding for small-scale infrastructure projects, such as roundabouts or pumping stations, to unlock sites that the community can then develop for housing. A second phase of the fund is to be launched later this year by Homes England for capital funding to develop community-led affordable housing schemes.
Throughout the North, we are already supporting community led housing activity and we know that communities throughout the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber are mobilising behind this issue. We would like to work with partners to collectively support, resource and facilitate more forms of community led development. The Community Housing Fund is only just part of the picture, let us know if you would like to find out more about the support on offer for community led housing development from national and local organisations with funding for the establishment of organisations, revenue support for project development or peer to peer learning.
Across all programmes, Homes England is working to develop strategic partnerships to accelerate delivery in early years, looking to build the pipeline of schemes and sites using our flexibilities, like the land acquisition tranche, and to see a step change in affordable housing delivery through new ways of working and aligning investment and land opportunities. However, our priority is to build the programme now, taking advantage of the available funding and accelerating delivery this year and next. Talk to us about your sites so we can work together to help shape the proposal.
Whether you are a Local Authority wanting to support a new community organisation with their housing ambitions or a Housing Association working up a new scheme – Get in touch with us to talk about funding needs, tenure mix, revenue or capital support.
For more information email Victoria Keen.