20 April, 2021
First launched in 2018, Homes England's Strategic Partnership model has enabled housing providers an alternative way to access grant funding by allowing partners to enter into a multi-year grant agreement to deliver affordable housing. Since then, Homes England have signed 23 partnerships with 27 housing associations, providing certainty of grant funding for the duration of the agreement rather than on a scheme-by-scheme basis. Through this scheme Homes England have helped in providing over 40,000 additional affordable homes and the partners have been able to do things they wouldn't otherwise have been able to do.
Bidding opened this month for housing providers to become strategic partners and gain access to the new Affordable Homes Programme 2021-2026 and the deadline for applications will close at noon on 18 May 2021. Homes England however have redesigned their strategic partnership model and are now offering partnerships with a broader range of partners, meaning for the first time bids can be made by for-profit affordable housing providers and developers, along with local authorities. Will we now find ourselves in a more diverse and competitive industry?
This shake up should go a long way in helping Homes England scale up their delivery of affordable homes, and housing providers will need to be more innovative with their plans and proposals to be successful amidst the increase in competition. Gordon Moore, the Chief Executive of Homes England commented that Homes England are "welcoming bids from a broader set of partners that are as committed as we are to design and modernisation". Therefore, housing providers will need to demonstrate how they would achieve Homes England's objectives. Homes England are looking for ambitious plans with most of the delivery to be through land-led development, by providing housing in rural areas, and providing supported housing with an approach to sustainability. Homes England are also looking for the delivery of 25% of homes through the Modern Method of Construction (MMC). Please see our article on the government's promotion of MMC for further information. Promotion of 'Modern Methods of Construction' grows as the Government pledges its financial support 18 Mar 2021 - Article from Forbes Solicitors.
Further, you can find more information about eligibility and how to apply for this new competitive bidding round on the government website, see Apply for affordable homes funding through a strategic partnership - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
For more information contact Shauna Helyer in our Housing & Regeneration department via email or phone on 01254 222 395. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.