Two charitable funders have joined forces to call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, to renew the Community Housing Fund. The joint letter, from the Nationwide Foundation and Power to Change, calls on Mr Sunak to support community-led housing in the autumn spending review. In addition, the letter confirms that research into the economic value of community-led housing has been commissioned and results are to be expected in late summer.
While the Community Housing Fund closed to applicants outside London in March of this year, it is believed that applications for 10,780 homes currently sit with Homes England awaiting funding decisions. The Fund ran from 2017, but came to an end in March 2020, when no mention of an extension or renewal was included in the Chancellor’s budget.
During the life of the Fund, money was granted to cover professional fees and planning services, capital funding to ensure the viability of affordable homes and investment into the national infrastructure needed to support the community-led housing movement.
With the national pipeline of community-led homes standing at 23,000, the government can be reassured that this is a successful and growing model for providing homes. However, around half of the planned homes in the pipeline are currently hoping for further government funding via the Community Housing Fund to enable them to be built.
In the light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the letter argues that community-led housing can also play an important role in kick-starting the economic recovery by providing much-needed contracts to small and medium housebuilders.