For-profit organisations will soon be able to bid for Homes England’s funding for the first time.
From next month, Homes England will allow for-profit registered providers, developers, and councils to become strategic partners, as it is cognizant of “more appetite, experience, and capacity” across the housing sector to deliver affordable housing.
Homes England’s strategic partnership model, which launched in 2018, has hitherto been available exclusively to housing associations.
For-profit registered providers had been able to access funding through the previous Affordable Homes Programme (AHP); though, this will be the first time they are eligible to access the scheme as strategic partners.
The funds will come from the c.£7.5bn pot Homes England is administering under the government’s new AHP.
The new £12.2bn AHP was announced in the government’s budget last March, and later confirmed in June.
Details of the new AHP were unveiled by Communities secretary Robert Jenrick in September.
Under Homes England’s strategic partnership system, successful bidders enter into a multi-year agreement to develop affordable housing, which means they do not have to apply on a scheme-by-scheme basis.
Figures from 2020 show that £1.8bn of the previous £2bn pot – which Homes England says has been claimed by 27 housing associations leading to c.40,000 new affordable homes – had been allocated by the end of September 2019.
That figure should mean around £5.7bn remains available to Homes England through the new AHP.
A bidding round is expected in March for the revised partnerships scheme, and will be open for six weeks – though the government has said this may be “subject to change”.
Bidders will be expected to deliver at least a quarter of homes through modern methods of construction (MMC), reflecting a stipulation outlined in the AHP.
Grant funding will be available for five different tenures: affordable rent, social rent, shared ownership, and supported housing for rent.
Image: Pavlo Lys/Shutterstock
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