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HCA unveils £2.2bn affordable housing programme

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England’s housing quango has invited housing providers to come forward with bids for its £2.2bn affordable housing programme.

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) said registered housing providers had until 3 May to submit proposals for the agency’s Affordable Homes Programme (AHP) of investment, with £2.2bn in funding available over 2011-2015.

The HCA also published a new framework that set outs out the details of the new AHP. Unlike previous programmes, which entailed ongoing market engagement, providers are now being invited to submit proposals for delivery of affordable housing to the HCA for the entire four year period, Pat Ritchie, HCA chief executive, said.

She said: “This new approach gives increased flexibilities for local authorities and providers to plan ahead and deliver much needed affordable homes. At a time when funding is tight, this new way of operating will allow us to do more with less resources, but it will rely heavily on effective working partnerships, which is where the HCA will play a significant part.”

The HCA said the key to the new programme was the new Affordable Rent product - a form of social housing that will allow providers to charge up to 80% of market rent on properties.

As part of the new funding offer, providers will also have the flexibility to convert a proportion of their social rented homes to Affordable Rent as part of a package agreed by the HCA, with all of the additional capacity generated used to deliver new affordable homes, the HCA said.

The HCA said that, subject to ministerial approval of the proposed programme, initial contracts would be awarded in July.


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