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The Community Grants Programme – Introduction

The Empty Homes Community Grants Programme ( EHCGP) is part of the Coalition’s Empty Homes Programme which runs from 1st April 2012- 31st March 2015.

A New Route To Public Funding For Community Led Housing Organisations

A New Route To Public Funding For Community Led Housing Organisations.

This Programme provides access to public funding from the Department of Communities & Local Government ( DCLG) to local community led housing organisations. This is an important step, because over the years funding for housing has become increasingly restricted to larger housing organisations which have to be registered with The Homes & Communities Agency ( HCA) .

For this reason the EHCGP is managed by an intermediary body which the DCLG have appointed to administer the grant programme ( Tribal Education & Learning).

In many ways the EHCGP is a good example of Localism in action

How Much Money Is Available?

  • First Round: The first round of funding was allocated in August 2012 and £29.7m was given to 95 organisations across England.  Click here to view allocations

  • Second Round: The second round of funding was allocated in mid 2013 and a further £21.1m was given to 51 organisations, which included 16 new recipients. Click here to view allocations

In total the EHCG amounts to £50.8m, allocated to 111 organisations.

Who Could Apply?

  • A registered charity;

  • A limited company, being either a company limited by guarantee or an registered industrial and provident society. The latter being either a society for the benefit of the community ( eg housing association model) or one for the benefit of its members (eg a housing co-operative)

  • A community interest company;

  • An organisation of another type operating as a social enterprise and principally reinvesting their surpluses for social benefit; or

  • Small community based Registered Providers, with less than 150 permanent units who are not part of an existing development partnership and not in receipt of housing subsidy grant

What Does The Funding Cover?

 What follows is a summary of the main features of the Programme

– Eligible Costs: Grants are intended to cover the capital cost of works/acquisition plus a small element of “on-costs”, to the point at which the property has been brought back into use. Grants are not intended to costs organizational revenue running costs. See the Guidance for further details.

– Eligible Properties: Properties that are owned by local authorities and housing associations and which have been funded to provide social housing are excluded, but all other properties are eligible ( eg privately owned /government departments/ health authorities/ local authority non-social housing etc)

– Lease or Purchase: Funding is available for both leasing ( minimum 5 years)) and purchasing. properties, although the limited level of grants will make purchase problematic in many areas

– Commercial Property: Commercial properties are eligible where they can be brought into residential use.

– Period Empty: Properties must have been empty for “more than six months and the aim is to achieve a two year average across the Programme.

– Identifying Properties: It will not be necessary to identify individual properties in advance of submitting a bid.  .

– Grant Levels: The level of grant available for each property/unit will be assessed on a value for money basis, which will take into account the length of lease, the number of people housed and size of the property.

– Standards: Leased properties under 15years should be refurbished to the Decent Homes Standard.

– Local Authority Support: Bids must supported by the relevant local authority in writing .

– Rents: Rents will be expected to be up to 80% of market rents and the level of rent will be taken into account when accessing schemes for funding.

– Training/Employment/Community Benefit: The offer of training and employment opportunities for local communities and “community benefit” is factor taken into account.