Establishing a Community Housing Fund grant policy

The Government’s Community Housing Fund was announced in March 2016. It was initially focused on boosting the supply of community-led housing in areas under pressure from second homes, its objectives included:

  • enabling local community groups to deliver affordable housing units of mixed tenure on sites which are likely to be of little interest to mainstream housebuilders
  • contributing to the overall national effort to boost housing supply
  • building collaboration, skills and supply chains at a local level to promote the sustainability of this approach to housebuilding
  • enabling capital investment, technical support and revenue to be provided to make more schemes viable
  • significantly increasing community groups’ current delivery pipelines.

An initial £60 million was allocated to 148 local authorities in December 2016, specifically for community-led housing schemes, however the Government provided only limited guidance on what the Fund could be used for, although it could be used for capital or revenue purposes. Accordingly, each of the local authorities in receipt of funding had to make decisions about how best to spend the funding and some established grant policies to support community led housing schemes.

Key features of a Community Housing Fund grant policy might be expected to include:

  • Definitions of community-led housing
  • policy statement on what will be supported through the grants programme
  • Corporate requirements: a statement or set of bullets on the main outcomes and impacts expected from the grant fund
  • Links with other relevant Council policies
  • Policy implementation 
    • How the policy will be overseen within the local authority
    • Funding stages (ie start-up, pre-development/feasibility and development) and what type of activity will be supported in each stage
    • Funding limits for each stage
    • What the Fund will not support
  • Grant criteria, which might usefully include: 
    • Who qualifies for funding;
    • The Council’s grant assessment criteria
    • The process for grant applications
    • The grant assessment process and timescale
    • How value for money will be assessed
    • How approved grants will be administered
    • Monitoring and claw-back arrangements
  • Evaluation arrangements
  • Local Authority contacts for grant applications and queries
  • A grant application form

Although subsequent rounds of funding in support of specific new CLH projects from the  Community Housing Fund are now largely routed through Homes England and the Greater London Authority, Councils can apply for revenue grants from the Fund to support community-led housing initiatives in their areas and therefore much of the above guidance is still relevant.. This means therefore that revenue funding is now available to local authorities who wish to support community groups looking to develop community-led housing proposals in their areas; for example, to employ staff to provide advisory services, information and support to groups. Accordingly, a CLH policy remains relevant.

Relevant Resources

Northumberland County Council grant application forms


East Riding of Yorkshire


Last updated in March 2020