‘Help us deliver the affordable homes Hackney needs’ – Mayor’s challenge to housing associations
Housing associations in Hackney were today challenged to use an innovative new £16million Council fund to increase the number of genuinely affordable homes being built in the borough.
The Mayor of Hackney’s Housing Challenge programme will issue grants – made up of money from council homes sold under the Government’s Right to Buy scheme – to help fund new developments for social or living rent.
Rising land values and changes in Government policy mean fewer than 300 new properties are expected to be built by housing associations in the borough in the next two years – a 90% drop since 2011.
London is facing an unprecedented housing crisis, and our city needs to build thousands of genuinely affordable homes if the capital is to work for everyone.
We’re playing our part by building a new generation of modern, high-quality council housing, but we can’t solve this crisis alone.
Housing associations have always played a vital role in keeping our borough a place that people of different backgrounds and incomes can call home.
That’s why today I’m making this new fund available to help them continue that work long into the future, using money that the Government makes it difficult to spend ourselves.
The Council’s own landmark Estate Regeneration Programme will see around 3,000 homes delivered directly by the Council over the next few years – with more than half for social rent and shared ownership.
Cash from sales under Right to Buy – the Government’s policy of allowing council tenants to buy their home at a discount – is usually reinvested in Council housebuilding programmes wherever possible.
But restrictions placed on local authorities by ministers mean the money must be spent within three years and can only pay for 30% of a new development – leaving cash-strapped councils struggling to find ways to fund the remainder of the cost.
Rather than give this money back to the government with interest, the Mayor of Hackney’s Housing Challenge will make it available to housing associations to help fund genuinely affordable new housing in the borough.
Bids will be assessed against strict criteria, including housing affordability, quality of housing management, and their contribution to the Council’s wider regeneration objectives – such as new jobs and training opportunities.
The deadline for housing associations to submit a bid for the first round of funding is 29 September. To download the brochure and submit an application, visit the Regeneration webpages.