Settled Homes Initiative –Criteria
A London targeted funding pot of £30m capital grant is available to fund innovative bids aimed at providing settled accommodation for homeless households in the capital. Proposals are sought for schemes which will provide settled accommodation at rents above target rents for a period, converting to permanent accommodation at target rents at the end of that period. For the avoidance of doubt, references to settled accommodation in this document cover the period for which rents to be charged do not comply with the target rent regime. References to permanent accommodation cover the period post conversion, when target rents will apply. Bidding for this funding is open to: Local authorities ALMOs Housing Associations Private sector organisations
The aims of the initiative are to: Provide settled accommodation for homeless households Maximise the amount of permanent accommodation to be provided in the long term Offer good value for money compared to other forms of provision Provide innovative proposals to address benefit traps for households gaining employment The criteria, bidding and assessment processes and timescales are set out in detail below. 2. a) Criteria Settled accommodation
All homes must provide settled accommodation and directly contribute to the DCLG target to halve the number of households in temporary accommodation by 2010. To achieve this aim homes let must bring any homelessness duty to an end. Homes must therefore be let as either: (i) Assured or Secure Tenancies: These must meet the statutory requirements for bringing any homelessness duty to an end, and comply with Part VI of the Housing Act 1996 (allocations legislation) whereby any secure tenancy provided by a local authority must be made under its allocation scheme, and any nomination made to a
Housing Association to an assured tenancy must also be made under that scheme. (ii) Qualifying Offer of Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs): Any qualifying AST must be made in line with all statutory requirements of the homelessness legislation relating to such offers. There should be no requirement that an applicant who is owed a homelessness duty under section 193(2) of PartVI of the Housing Act 1996, should be forced to accept such an offer. Halving the number of households in temporary accommodation
Proposals must be accompanied by a clear plan submitted by a local authority partner/s clearly demonstrating: (i) How this specific bid will contribute to at least halving the number of households living in temporary accommodation in the relevant local authority or sub-region by 2010. As part of the bid the submission by the local authority partner or partners of a temporary accommodation reduction plan setting out how they will achieve the overall target of at least halving the numbers in temporary accommodation for that particular local authority or group of local authorities. It should include a full demand and supply projection up to 2010 demonstrating how the target will be achieved through the prevention of homelessness; maximising new supply of social rented housing; and making best use of existing housing resources in both the social rented and private rented sector. Property life Properties which are to be retained as permanent housing must be capable of providing a minimum 30 year life (for existing properties) or 60 year life (for new build properties). Standards All existing properties must meet the applicable minimum statutory standards, and the Housing Corporation’s Scheme Development Standards (SDS) from the date at which they are to be converted to permanent housing. New build properties must meet scheme development standards, Eco Homes very good, and minimum HQI scores from the outset. Timescales Properties must be able to be purchased, and where works are required, start on site by 31 March 2008 at the latest. Works must complete and the property be available for letting by 31 March 2009 at the latest.
Housing Management Where a housing association is to manage the properties, it will be expected that they will have a green traffic light for housing management under the Housing Corporation’s Assessment (HCA) framework. Where an ALMO or local authority is to manage the properties, it will be expected that they will have a 2 star assessment from the Audit Commission. Where a private sector provider is to manage the properties, they will have to be accredited via the Housing Corporation’s accreditation scheme.
Bidding documentation Financial details
The attached Excel spreadsheet should be completed to show: the number and mix of properties to be provided per local authority, as settled accommodation for the initial period and the number of properties to be retained as permanent accommodation in the long term. the date of conversion to permanent accommodation, the rents to be charged initially and at conversion. the amount of capital grant sought.
Bidders should complete the attached word document detailing: how they will meet the aims outlined at 1 above and criteria set out at 2 above. their strategy for purchasing properties, and the speed and certainty with which delivery can be achieved. How they might exceed the quality standards set out at 2b) above, for example by carrying out an Eco Homes xb assessment at property purchase and using the findings to inform future planned maintenance. (further details can be found at the BRE’s website). How their proposals will address o The need for family homes and reduce overcrowding o Achieve mixed communities o Avoid the creation of house price hot spots o Climate change adaptation and environmental sustainability o Links to private sector renewal strategies o Diversity and equality issues 3.3 Detailed financial information
A further template requesting detailed financial information will be issued in November 2006. This will be circulated electronically and made available on the Housing Corporation website.
Assessment of bids
All bids will be assessed by a panel including representatives of the Mayor, Government Office for London, ALG, Housing Corporation and DCLG. It is anticipated that a first sift of bids will be carried out in accordance with the timetable outlined at 6 below. Following the initial sift, it is anticipated that shortlisted bidders will be requested to provide further detailed financial information to allow a full economic assessment of their bids to be carried out. Final recommendations for funding will have to be formally approved by the Mayor and by DCLG ministers. Bids will be assessed in the first instance on the basis of: 4.1 Those which provide best value for money, taking account of the impact of the combination of: rents to be charged in the short and long term, proposed housing benefit savings and the amount of grant required up front number of properties to be retained as permanent housing and timing of conversion to permanent accommodation the benefit of subsidy from other sources
Those which best contribute to alleviating benefit dependency and improving incentives to work. Those which meet good quality standards from the earliest stage. Best fit against the criteria outlined at 3.2 above.
5.1 Successful bidders will be required to enter their bids onto the Housing Corporation’s Investment Management System (IMS) following the announcement of allocations in late February/early March. Further details will be provided at the time. 5.2 Note that where properties are to be owned in the short (and long) term by a body other than a housing association, and capital grant is required, the provider will be expected to enter into a rent charge to secure the capital investment in the home. 5.3 If a bid is being submitted for capital grant, the number of permanent properties to be provided and number of persons housed will determine the average grant per unit and per person calculation. If fewer permanent properties are provided than originally anticipated, there will be a requirement to re-pay or re-cycle grant at the grant per person rate.
5.4 Successful bidders will be expected to provide an annual return confirming the rents for properties in this portfolio and certifying that they remain in line with projections at the point at which grant was awarded. Where providers are unable to make such a certification, a proportion of the grant will be required to be re-paid (or re-cycled). 5.5 Successful bidders will be expected to participate in CORE
5.6 Successful bidders who are not currently registered with the Housing Corporation or successfully achieved pre-qualification for the 2006-08 National Affordable Housing Programme will be required to demonstrate their financial standing, resilience and longevity. The criteria for doing so will be proportionate to the scale and risk of this initiative.
Timetable 16 October 2006 12 noon, 16 January 2007
Launch of bids round Bids submission
Announcement of allocations 2007 Agreed allocations input to IMS
late Feb/early March
Capital grant will be available from 1 April 2007 and start on site must be achieved by 31 March 2008.