HCA denies housing associations looking to return affordable homes grants
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Development
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The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has denied that a number of housing associations are set to hand back their affordable homes grant amid concerns that some are struggling to deliver their commitments under the four-year programme.
The HCA has already moved to find other developers willing to take over part of Cosmopolitan Housing Group's contract to build 1,058 homes.
The landlord, which recently merged with Chester & District Housing Trust, said it had been "too ambitious" with its original bid and was slashing its commitment by a third.
Speaking at the National Housing Federation (NHF) Conference in Birmingham, HCA chief executive, Pat Ritchie, said no other housing associations were currently on the verge of returning their HCA grants.
However, she said that any problems with delivery would be dealt with in a piecemeal fashion, with elements of the contracts moved around to accommodate any change in circumstances.
Asked what the HCA would do with the returned funds if such a situation were to occur, Ritchie said they would be offered for re-bid and redistributed.
Ritchie said: “No housing associations are on the verge of returning their HCA grants. I don’t know where that idea’s come from.”
A spokesperson from the HCA added: “No housing association has approached us to say that it will be returning Affordable Housing Programme grant money. Pat Ritchie had a meeting last week where all the partners sat together and told them that they had to deliver what they were committed to or the HCA would have to look at reallocating funds.”