Date issued: 2 October 2018
A partnership arrangement between Colchester Borough Council and Haig Housing Trust is set to provide up to nine affordable family homes for ex-service personnel or their bereaved spouses.
The agreement will see up to £450,000 of the council’s ‘Right to Buy’ receipts used to support the Trust to buy the homes on the open market, which will then be offered for rent. In return, the council will receive nomination rights to the properties through its choice-based lettings scheme ‘Gateway to Homechoice’.
Haig Housing Trust is a leading Armed Forces housing charity, formed in 1916, which owns and manages over 1,500 properties throughout the UK for former-Service personnel and their families. It also provides individual housing solutions for wounded and disabled Service men and women nationwide.
As it does with other housing providers, the council invited Haig Housing Trust to apply for the grant to speed up delivery of additional affordable housing in the borough, and to also help meet its commitment to find housing solutions for former Service personnel through its Armed Forces Covenant.
There are currently 90 applicants on the council’s housing register who are ex-Armed Forces personnel or their bereaved partners – 26 of whom are in significant housing need. Under the arrangement with the Trust, priority will be given to applicants with a local connection to Colchester, who will be offered rent levels set at approximately 60% of the current market rate.
The council’s £450,000 grant will contribute 30% of the total costs of buying the properties – in line with the Government’s funding criteria for Right to Buy receipts – while Haig Housing Trust will fund the remaining 70% of the purchase costs. Both parties have agreed that all of the properties will be purchased by March 2019.
Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Communities and Housing, said: “When Colchester Borough Council signed the Armed Forces Covenant, we made a promise to treat all serving and former members of the armed forces with fairness and respect and to help them to access the services they need.
“This is an excellent collaboration with Haig Housing Trust. It means we will be able to assist ex-Service personnel and their families – some of whom have the greatest housing need – to rent a secure and affordable home within the borough.”
James Richardson, Chief Executive of Haig Homes, added: “Haig Housing Trust is extremely pleased and grateful to Colchester Borough Council for its support and encouragement in providing homes for veterans in the town. Haig has had an ambition for a long time to offer homes to veterans and their families in Colchester, a town of significant military history and presence.
“This funding support will allow for more provision and speedy delivery of homes. Haig looks forward to a long and close cooperation to uphold the commitment of the Armed Forces Covenant.”