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£77m of Government cash for Black Country-based housing group to build 2,250 homes

By Simon Penfold | Property | Published:

The Government is pumping £77 million into a Black Country -based housing partnership as part of aims to get more than 14,000 affordable homes built nationwide over the next four years.

New homes being built by the Accord housing association in Woden Road, Wolverhampton

The money for the Matrix Housing Partnership will see 2,257 new homes in the Black Country and across the wider Midlands.

It is part of the first wave of strategic partnerships agreed between the Government's Homes England agency to ramp up the building of affordable homes

The target is to build 14,280 additional affordable homes by March 2022. The deals include homes for social rent in areas of where house prices are particularly high, with the funding available boosted by the Government’s announcement of an additional £1.67bn for the £9bn affordable homes programme.

Eight partners have signed up to deliver more than 23,500 additional homes across all tenures, including for sale on the open market.

In total, Homes England will provide a funding package of just under £590m through to March 2022 to support the first wave of strategic partnerships with MAtrix Partnership, emh group; Great Places; Home Group; Hyde; L&Q; Places for People; and Sovereign/Liverty.

Matrix Housing Partnership collectively owns and manages almost 65,000 homes and it includes the West Bromwich-based Accord Housing Association, the Black Country Housing Group, Sandwell Council, Walsall's WATMOS Community Homes as well as Birmingham's Trident and Pioneer housing groups.

Speaking for the Matrix Partnership, Chris Handy, chief executive of the Accord Housing Group, said: “We welcome the new partnership approach which brings significant growth opportunities in affordable housing and wider supply for more than a generation.

“Matrix and its housing association and local authority partners look forward to the opportunity to work with Homes England delivering a high percentage of our ambitious programme through the new LoCaL Homes Offsite manufacturing hub.”

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Based in Walsall the LoCaL Homes operation manufactures housing construction systems offsite at a closed panel timber frame factory in Beechdale

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire said: “There is no mission more urgent than making our housing market work, and we are investing £9bn in building affordable homes.

“This £590m fund we are giving Homes England will help housing associations accelerate the delivery of affordable properties communities need.”

Homes England – formerly the Homes & Communities Agency – will re-open talks with the housing association sector his summer on a second tranche of strategic partnerships. The national housing agency will also be looking at the lessons learned from the first wave of deals to see "what flexibilities can be offered to site-by-site based bids".

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The deals come only six months after Homes England CEO Nick Walkley challenged the sector to form a new type of partnership with Government to increase the supply of affordable homes. Mr Walkley said: “When we launched Homes England, I called on housing associations to work with us to develop ambitious strategic partnerships that would help them to get on and build significantly more affordable homes than they were previously planning.

"After a huge amount of hard work, these new deals show our real determination to combine ambition, flexibilities and the full range of our resources to change the way we deliver affordable homes.

“This is a very important day for us but we have no intention to stop here. Over the summer, we will work to expand the eight deals to become even more ambitious while agreeing a second wave of strategic partnerships with other ambitious housing associations. This is a fantastic opportunity for the sector to up its game and get more affordable homes built more quickly.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, added: “We are delighted to have worked in close partnership with Homes England on this new approach to investing in affordable housing, which will support housing associations’ vital work to help solve the housing crisis.

Simon Penfold

By Simon Penfold
Business Editor - @SPenfold_star

Business Editor based at the Express & Star's head office in Wolverhampton, looking for stories big & small.

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