Call For Another Empty Homes Community Grants Programme To Bring Empty Properties Back Into Use To Meet Housing Need
It’s Empty Homes Week and the Government have just announced an extra £1.4 billion to create additional 40,000 new homes, but there’s no funding to tackle the 200,000 plus existing long-term empty properties, capable of providing much needed accommodation.
“Between 2012-15 the government financed a successful £50m Empty Homes Community Grants Programme( EHCGP) which created 1,500 homes from empty properties. ” said Jon Fitzmaurice OBE Director of Self Help Housing. Org. “Around 100 community based organisations were able to access funding to provide affordable rented accommodation for people in housing need, while at the same time often offering training and employment to local people and contributing to street level regeneration. Furthermore, they collectively raised at least another £26m in loans & grants to supplement the £50m Programme”
“The EHCGP was a game changer for us” said James Hartley, Director of Latch in Leeds.” it enabled us to move from 13 to 34 properties in ownership and has given us a reliable long term rental stream, making us far more financially stable. Plus, we refurbished properties to a really good standard and were able to provide more for training out-of-work volunteers, three of whom have gone on to become self-employed”
Community Campus in Stockton were also able to provide more housing their client group of young people. “The EHCGP enabled us to purchase 22 properties in Teesside ” said Carl Ditchburn, Director of Community Campus “ and we now own 66. Overall, the Programme enabled Campus to extend the training and support we provide for vulnerable young people and to extend our work with other small local community housing organisations”
“For less than 5% of the additional funding that has been announced, there could be another Community Grants Programme which would not only provide housing, but which would also result in a range of valuable social outcomes” said Jon Fitzmaurice.” we surveyed organisations in receipt of funding when the last programme came to an end and identified demand for a further £52m programme, we’re calling on the Government to step forward and put in place another Community Grants Programme”.
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Locality have received funding from The Nationwide Foundation for an Early Stage Support Programme which offers expert mentoring and small grants to help affordable community-led housing projects get started.
It’s a programme aimed at helping community groups in England in the critical early stages of their project. It provides help with everything from choosing a legal structure to funding guidance. The programme has a focus on urban and deprived areas.
More details and eligibility criteria can be found here
Canopy Housing Project from Leeds and Giroscope from Hull have jointly won the BSHF World Habitat Housing Award for 2015-16.
Both organisations have been successful in making extensive use of empty properties to provide housing and in doing so have given disadvantaged people the chance to learn construction skills and secure employment.
The Award recognises projects that are; Innovative, Sustainable and Transferrable. Read more about The Award Winning Self-Help Housing Project In The North here
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An organisation called Unlimited, which supports new social enterprises, is offering grants to people wanting to set up new projects. To qualify you’d need “to be a social entrepreneur with a venture creating strong social impact in your local area. You have ambitions to further grow your impact deeper into your community, becoming a catalyst for further social change”. They’re offering
- Three years of support from an Award Manager to grow your venture
- A full diagnostic of your social venture created alongside an Award Manager, to help you identify opportunities
- Access to up to £15,000 to meet those opportunities
It’s Empty Property Week, organised by Empty Homes, and the press is full of inspiring stories about how it’s possible to use empty property as an accessible way of securing housing for community based self-help housing organisations.
For more information visit Empty Homes website http://http://www.emptyhomes.com/empty-homes-events/national-empty-homes-week-2015/
Here’s an example of some good coverage from the BBC http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-34930602