Skip to main content

The Government’s Community Housing Fund was announced in March 2016. Focused initially on boosting the supply of community-led housing in areas under pressure from second homes, its objectives included:

  • enabling local community groups to deliver affordable housing units of mixed tenure on sites which are likely to be of little interest to mainstream housebuilders
  • contributing to the overall national effort to boost housing supply
  • building collaboration, skills and supply chains at a local level to promote the sustainability of this approach to housebuilding
  • enabling capital investment, technical support and revenue to be provided to make more schemes viable
  • significantly increasing community groups’ current delivery pipelines.

An initial £60 million was allocated to 148 local authorities in December 2016, specifically for community-led housing schemes. The Government has provided only limited guidance on what the Fund can be used for. Each of the local authorities receiving funding is making decisions about how best to spend the funding; some have established grant policies to support community led housing schemes.

Key features of a Community Housing Fund grant policy might be expected to include:

  • Definitions of community-led housing
  • A policy statement on what will be supported through the grants programme
  • Corporate requirements: a statement or set of bullets on the main outcomes and impacts expected from the grant fund
  • Links with other relevant Council policies
  • Policy implementation
    • How the policy will be overseen within the local authority
    • Funding stages (ie start-up, pre-development/feasibility and development) and what type of activity will be supported in each stage
    • Funding limits for each stage
    • What the Fund will not support
  • Grant criteria, which might usefully include:
    • Who qualifies for funding;
    • The Council’s grant assessment criteria
    • The process for grant applications
    • The grant assessment process and timescale
    • How value for money will be assessed
    • How approved grants will be administered
    • Monitoring and claw-back arrangements
  • Evaluation arrangements
  • Local Authority contacts for grant applications and queries
  • A grant application form

Subsequent rounds of annual funding through the Community Housing Fund are being largely routed through Homes England and the Greater London Authority. Councils will however be able to apply for revenue grants from the Fund to support community-led housing initiatives in their areas, so much of the above guidance will still be relevant for at least the next two years.

Last updated in April 2018