The Housing Advisers Programme, an innovative scheme set up by the Local Government Association to help councils overcome housing challenges in their local areas, has opened for funding bids.
Last year, more than 40 projects across the country were supported through the programme, with councils launching initiatives on everything from increasing housebuilding to reducing homelessness in their communities.
The Programme funds the provision of an independent expert for councils undertaking specific projects to tackle the effects of the housing crisis in local communities – including on housing delivery, planning for homes, and reducing rough sleeping. This could be a source of funding for consultants, for example the Right to Build Task Force, to advise on the use of Custom Build homes for creating additional homes that deliver diversity, or community-led projects that focus on affordability.
Each project will take its lead from the local communities they are based in, with the adviser supplied to the local authority offering expertise and advice to help councils achieve their objectives. The best practice and lessons learned from each project will be shared with councils and embedding into the sector-led improvement currently on offer from the LGA.
The Programme launches against a backdrop of rising house prices and homelessness. There continues to be an ongoing shortfall of new homes supplied in England, with the net additional dwellings supplied last year 217,350, a marked increase on recent years and yet still 80,000 homes short of the 300,000 it is widely agreed are needed each year.
As well as the ongoing efforts through the Programme, the LGA is calling on the Government to trigger a renaissance in council house-building. This needs to include lifting the housing borrowing cap for all councils and allowing them to keep 100 per cent of Right to Buy Receipts.
Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Housing spokesman, said: “The Housing Advisers Programme can make a huge difference to councils and the communities they serve. Over the last year, more than 40 local authorities have been supported to tackle our shortage of homes at the local level, and it can make a hugely positive difference, from tackling homelessness to encouraging housebuilding.
“However, there’s only so much councils can do on their own, which is why we continue to call on the Government to lift the housing borrowing cap across the country and enable councils to keep 100 per cent of the receipts from sales of homes under Right to Buy.
“The Programme aims to help councils deliver local priorities, and can be valuable source of expertise to councils wishing to innovate and improve in their efforts to build more homes, reduce homelessness, and plan prosperous places and economies.
“It’s well worth councils who haven’t already done so looking at the programme and seeing how it can benefit them – a simple visit to the website is all that’s needed.”
The Housing Advisers Programme aims to help councils deliver local priorities. Expressions of interest can be sent in from the today and will close on 26 June, find out details on how to submit applications or email firstname.lastname@example.org.