15/05/2024

New Funding Initiative Announced To Provide More Affordable Homes

Communities Minister, Gordon Lyons, has announced a funding offer to build more affordable homes for lower income tenants as part of the forthcoming Housing Supply Strategy.

The Intermediate Rent scheme will provide funding through a long-term, low-interest government loan to an operator. This operator will then develop a new inventory of affordable homes for rent. Developed after thorough engagement with the sector to assess the scheme's appeal and feasibility, this funding initiative will bring to life the Department's Intermediate Rent policy.

Intermediate Rent introduces a fresh category of affordable rented housing, positioned between social housing and the private rented sector in terms of cost. It ensures a high standard of quality and increased security. By featuring homes with discounted rents, it opens access to individuals with lower incomes. This option can serve as an alternative for those grappling with affordability, whether they're saving for homeownership or awaiting a social home.
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In a statement, Mr Lyons said: "As Minister for Housing, it is my priority to bring forward a range of measures to ensure working families have access to safe, secure, and affordable housing. Intermediate Rent is a key strand of this. The funding available to deliver intermediate housing for rent will create a supply of homes offering another housing option for those who find themselves priced out of the mainstream rental market.

"Many people are struggling to access a home suited to their needs, exacerbated by increasing rents and insecurity in the private rented sector, while demand continues to exceed supply for social homes."

"Growing the supply of more affordable, better quality homes for rent with longer-term tenancies is a key commitment for my Department. The Intermediate Rent scheme will complement the Social Housing Development Programme, supporting people who might otherwise struggle to find rented accommodation, putting a home within reach of individuals and families. We are inviting potential operators to submit an application to run this innovative scheme, which will offer a more secure, cost effective and sustainable housing option."

The funding will facilitate the construction of 300 new affordable Intermediate Rent homes in Northern Ireland during the initial phase. These homes will be accessible to qualifying lower-income households, offering discounted rents set at a minimum of 20 per cent below the local market rates. The availability of these homes for rent will be advertised and applications will be accepted from eligible households.

Applications for funding will close at 4pm on 23 August 2024.

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