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Successful bidding for UK social housing development grants

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New social housing development. Successful UK social housing bid.

The social housing developer wanting to develop subsidised rent 'affordable housing' will generally need to successfully bid for grants from funders. Often there will be stiff competition for funds, so that being successful may require using more knowledge and skill than you currently have - and developers need updated bidding strategies appropriate to today's competitive and ever-changing bidding situations as in England with funding heading for less LAs and less developers, with LASHG out and ALMOs, GROs and RHGs in. (Now local authorities are concerned that they need bidding training - maybe on ALMO and ex-LASHG bidder plans to begin bidding for housing grants ?)

Having worked extensively at all levels in this area in England, including auditing bidding decision, my unmatched training/advice sessions on successful bidding are offered to any interested in England, see Appraisal. Funders often being overworked, especially at certain times of the year, you will need to ensure that your bidding strategy does not over-pressure their resources. Hence, careful timing of one or two brief but winning letters or e-mails can really help.

While bidding on the regular programmes of the main UK social housing development funders is likely to be the more difficult, there will also be many alternative funders (often specialist) and the main funders may also run new initiative programmes that can be easier to successfully bid on. So check housing headlines daily on the internet, check that your system is not blocking informative housing e-mails and get visible by putting monthly notes on a housing discussion group or forum with your association's name (few may contribute, but many will read - from a range of organisations).

Your bids will generally need the backing of other key players, such as the local authorities that you wish to develop in. All funders and backers like evidence that you can deliver, such as a track record with them and/or with the other key players. And subsidy providers and others involved may want to feel satisfied that a proposed new development project is sustainable as well as financially viable and good value for their grant money.

The 2008-2011 Homes and Communities Agency (formerly Housing Corporation) bidding round include approved private developers. We strongly advise any private developer considering bidding for grant direct to get your foot in the door at the first opportunity. It is likely to be much harder later if you do not. You may need somebody trained to use the Homes and Communities Agency's IMS bidding system. See Do For You.

To contact (e-mail vincent@social-exclusion-housing.com): contact Housing Development .. and We will get back to you asap,
or use the simple enquiry form at Do For You .

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Homes and Communities Agency bid rounds for social housing grants for site development in England have undergone some big changes in recent years ;

Unit building cost limits formerly called TCIs have been dropped in favour of 'competitive build costs', and the limits on unit grant available formerly called Grant Rates have also been dropped in favour of 'competitive grant levels'. The Homes and Communities Agency still allocates social housing development grants based in part on estimates of comparative development costs of tendered schemes and so on developer efficiency.

Bidders can take one of two bid routes ;
1. an agreed Partnering route where you bid for £10+m for each of 2 years.
2. a Traditional route where you can bid for any amount for one or both of 2 years.

Both bid routes split between main National Affordable Housing Programme (NAHP) bidding at the start of a bid round, and quarterly Regular Market Engagement (RME) bidding throughout the period. For RME bidding see the Homes and Communities Agency's RME Guidance. For Homes and Communities Agency grants, prospective rents are required to be per their Guide to the Allocation Process.

PS. Bidders should note that the first of the Homes and Communities Agency's criteria for accepting bids remains that they be compatible with its own published region priorities - NOT compatibility with Regional Housing Board strategies as some seem to be wrongly advising.

Our GoScheme appraiser in Excel, incorporating a multi-year Grant Calculator, is available free now - but it remains for 2004/05 and 2005/06 project appraisals and 2006/07 estimates. For now you need to update its data yourself. Its appraisals allow for actual RSL scheme cost and management and maintenance cost and voids with a zero efficiency saving and for RSL rent policy being under or over Homes and Communities Agency target rent.

We have received thanks from several RSLs that we advised successfully on tricky bidding, and some of whom are happy GoScheme users. This GoScheme development appraiser remains one of the best around, though the data needs updating now.

Vincent Wilmot.

This site is looking to improve and your views or suggestions on this site's contents will be welcomed, contact as above.

Funding websites you may wish to visit :- goto Homes and Communities Agency ... goto Funding Central

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