The results of the bids for Round 2 of the government's Empty Homes Programme were announced at the end June.
Don Foster's announcement referred to £91million of funding. Of this £30 million was not new funding but Year 2 of the Clusters of Empties programme funding.
The remaining £61million was split approximately 2:1 between the HCA programme and the Tribal-managed Communities Grant Programme. This is a slightly more generous split in favour of the CGP than in Round 1.
The grant-per-property on the CGP programme is nearly double that of HCA programme and no fewer than 8 of the successful bids are from local YMCA branches. The inclusion of a column for number of bedrooms (not found in the HCA programme spreadsheet) indicates that many of the CGP schemes are for shared housing and suggests that funding will be targeted at larger properties than most on the HCA programme.
Because of the prevalence of leased homes in these empty homes programmes it is difficult to make like-for-like comparisons on grant-per-unit as it is not known the proportion of leased properties to outright purchases, nor lease lengths.
Overall this is yet another significant boost to funding to bring empty homes back into use. There is no extension to the programme end-date (end of March 2015) so delivery will be challenging: practitioners up and down the country will be rolling up their sleeves to negotiate the necessary deals and bring owners on board.