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01 December 2016

Ground breaking deal between CHC, WG and WLGA

A ground breaking deal signed today (Dec 1) will change the lives of tens of thousands of Welsh people, including some of the poorest and most vulnerable in Wales.

In a five-year agreement, Welsh Government and the official bodies representing housing associations and councils in Wales, will sign a pact to work together to help deliver Welsh Government’s 20,000 affordable housing target.

The housing association sector in Wales has committed to delivering at least 12,500 of these new homes, a big increase on previous years. Many local authorities will be delivering a significant number of new homes for the first time in years and between them, they have promsied to provide a minimum of 13,500 properties.

The Housing Supply Pact will also create thousands of training and employment opportunities as well as apprenticeships by 2021.

The pact, between Welsh Government, Community Housing Cymru (CHC) and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) will be unveiled today at CHC’s Annual Conference in Cardiff.

The Minister for Communities and Children, Carl Sargeant, AM, will also use his speech to announce a substantial boost to this year’s budget for new affordable homes by making extra money available through grant aid.

He said: “The original Social Housing Grant (SHG) Programme budget for this year was £68 million. The additional £30 million I am announcing today will take this programme’s budget to almost £100 million.

“We plan to invest over £1.5 billion in affordable homes during this term of government. Continued support for social housing is crucial. ‘Business as usual’ is not an option but tried and tested schemes including the Social Housing Grant (SHG) Programme and Housing Finance Grant will play a key role in delivering affordable homes and assisting the most vulnerable to access and keep their housing.”

Housing associations have been instrumental in helping Welsh Government exceed its previous five-year target of 10,000 affordable homes. Last year, 94 percent of those were built by housing associations.

Stuart Ropke, Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru, says housing associations continue to make a huge difference to lives and to the Welsh economy.

“Our members provide homes for some of the most vulnerable people in Wales, providing them with the support and care that just isn’t available anywhere else. They also make a huge contribution to the Welsh economy and for every £1 spent by a housing association, 90p remains in Wales, benefiting local business and communities.

Housing associations will be involved in creating up to 12,500 training and employment opportunities, which will mean new jobs and apprenticeships. There will also be skills development and support for 25,000 people.”

Steve Thomas, Chief Executive of the WLGA, says local authorities already work closely with housing associations.

He added: “Our partnership of the public, private and third sectors is arguably one of the most successful of its kind in the UK in recent years. By combining our skills we will make a big difference to so many people in Wales creating neighbourhoods where people want to live and work.

“A number of local authority landlords will also be building new homes themselves, and local councils will continue to play an important role, making land available for new homes and working together with partners to fulfil this target. This is a historic partnership that will benefit everyone in Wales.”

Read the full Housing Supply Pact here.

Find out how Welsh Housing Associations are making a difference the lives of people around Wales:

Hafod Housing

Hafod Housing Association recently welcomed tenants to their new homes in the village of Colwinston, Vale of Glamorgan. The 16 homes, part of a development of 64 properties, are helping to meet high local demand for affordable homes within this rural community.
Mum of three, Emma Murphy, was previously renting privately and had experienced poor standards and had little stability due to short-term contracts.
She said: “Finding out that we had a new home with Hafod was like winning the lottery. It’s going to make such a difference to me and my daughters. We now have stability and can really settle down plus we’re still close to family, school and work. It’s lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.”
Six homes are now occupied with a further ten due for completion next Spring (2017) including 3 two-bedroom homes for low-cost sale.

Newydd Housing Association – The Old Station

Tenants moved into Newydd Housing Association’s £3.2 million The Old Station housing development on Gileston Road in St Athan, the Vale of Glamorgan in February this year. The development of 23, one, two and three bedroom apartments, bungalows and houses, all built to level 3, of the Code for Sustainable Homes, in traditional stone or painted in warm colour tones, in keeping with the rural area.
Tenant Jo-Ann Warren, moved in with her family – daughter Mia aged 13 and son Ian aged 15, after previously living in an unsuitable private rental. Her son, has autism and dyspraxia which affects his mobility and coordination.The condition means he faces the same risks as a child learning to walk. The family’s home in The Old Station has been specifically adapted for Ian, as it has a lift and a wet room.
Jo-Ann explained: “I had been waiting a long time for an adapted home. My son has autism and dyspraxia and needs extra help for tasks such as going up the stairs. I’ve suffered with back problems in the past which have deteriorated as a result, but our home now has the facilities to allow us all to live more independently and has made the world of difference to us all in many different ways.”
Built on a brown field site by contractors Jehu Project Services on behalf of Newydd and in partnership with Vale of Glamorgan Council, The Old Station housing development, offers affordable homes for rent to local people having received part funding from the Welsh Government.

Bron Afon - The former Pontymoile Primary School.

Bron Afon is currently building 39 new homes. Twenty-eight of them will be available for rent and 11 of them will be sold under the shared ownership scheme. The cost is £3.683m and the Welsh Government is providing funding through the Social Housing Grant programme.
Duncan Forbes, chief executive of Bron Afon, said: “We feel very proud to get our first house building project started. Our Trade That Works Training Academy that we developed earlier this year is going to be closely involved and make sure that unemployed residents can get vital skills and support to find permanent jobs.” Up to four jobs for local people will be created. The contractor is Sennybridge Limited.

Trivallis - Springfield Court

Brian Davies and his daughter Tamika, from Church Village, were one of the first families to move into their new home at Springfield Court – Trivallis’ largest development of new homes to date. Brian and Tamika moved into their two-bedroom house in October.
“It’s fantastic, everything we could need and possibly want,” said Brian who previously privately rented a two-bedroom flat in Tonteg. “Everything has just fitted into place, I’m very happy with how it’s all turned out – I’m over the moon.”
As part of the sign-up process, tenants are invited to view their new home and meet their Neighbourhood Manager. Brian explained: “I met with the team who showed me around the house. It was really helpful because they talked me through the heating system, tenancy agreement and they even told me what days my bins will be collected.”
The properties were built in line with Social Housing Grant which meets various Welsh Government standards including Development Quality Requirements (DQR), Lifetime Homes and Secured by Design. This means that the properties can be adapted and modified to suit the needs of the tenant if their circumstances change. Following an illness Brian’s brother is now a wheelchair user and he was amazed that his brother had no trouble getting around in the property. “Whoever designed these homes is fantastic. It’s really clever and you can see that they’re thinking of everything, including the future,” Brian added.

Monmouthshire Housing Association - Old School, Close.

Jill and Derek Emms, moved into Old School Close, Caldicot, a Monmouthshire Housing Association (MHA) development in June, this year. Old School Close offered 18 new homes for rent – a mix of houses, apartments and a disabled bungalow. The site was originally home to a 1960s primary school and play yard that were left in a state of disrepair. MHA purchased the land from the local authority and demolished the school. MHA built quality new homes and created a new attractive, sustainable community in partnership with M and J Cosgrove Contractors.
Tenant Mrs Emms said: “We love it here and have settled in nicely. It’s peaceful and we love being in our new home and garden.”

United Welsh - Cwrt Maes Dyfan.

Sophie Lewis, from Barry was the first person to buy a home with housing association United Welsh in partnership with Vale of Glamorgan Council via the Aspire2Own Low Cost Home Ownership (LCHO) scheme.
In November, 24-year-old first-time buyer Sophie was handed the keys to a brand new two-bedroom home in Gibbonsdown Rise, Barry, in the Cwrt Maes Dyfan development built by Persimmon. Sophie purchased her first home on a 76% shared equity basis at £92,400 with no deadline, rent or interest to pay back the remaining 24%. Sophie can also acquire 100% of the equity in her home if she wants to.
Sophie said: “Previously I lived with my parents at Barry waterfront. I wanted my first home to be close to family and friends in Barry but I was struggling to afford properties in the areas I liked. I soon realised that houses were too expensive for my budget. My mum was the one who spotted the Gibbonsdown Rise home. Considering the excellent value, I thought it was worth looking into the LCHO scheme and then when I learnt there was no deadline to pay back the rest of the equity, the scheme appealed to me even more. I would definitely recommend the LCHO scheme to other first-time buyers.”

Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd – Pwllheli

CCG’s first new housing development in the Dwyfor area of Pwllheli was completed earlier this year. The new development at Lôn Abererch includes four two storey two-bedroom houses and three two bedroom bungalows. The new estate has been named Tir Tywod, which was suggested by Pwllheli Town Council. A total of 58% of the project was funded through the Welsh Government’s Smaller Properties Social Housing Programme, and were targeted at people who were affected by Welfare Reform.
John and Jennifer Campbell moved into one of the new bungalows. Mrs Campbell said: “We are over the moon about the bungalow. Downsizing to a smaller property, which will be easier for us to manage has made such a difference to our lives. It’s much bigger and even better than we ever imagined. We can’t thank CCG enough for our new home.” The new tenants benefit from energy savings and won’t be affected be the bedroom tax. As a result of this re-location, 3 and 4 bedroom properties in Pwllheli will become available to let for families who need these homes.