The Local Government Association is launching the fourth year of the Housing Advisers Programme, an innovative scheme to help councils overcome housing challenges in their local areas, with a focus this year on projects tackling the impact of COVID-19.
The programme, which opens for bids today, is part of the LGA’s sector-led improvement offer which provides robust peer challenges and support to help councils improve performance, become more efficient and effective and share good practice.
It funds the provision of independent expertise for councils undertaking specific projects to tackle the effects of the housing crisis in local communities – including on housing delivery, planning for homes, and reducing homelessness.
In the previous three years of the programme, the LGA has funded more than 100 projects across England, helping councils build homes, reduce homelessness and rough sleeping, plan for ageing populations, understand the student housing market, increase supply of modular housing and more.
This year the programme will prioritise projects that will support councils and their communities to address COVID-19 and its wider impacts. The programme will award up to £20,000 to each project for the purpose of securing expert advice in transforming how a service or partnership meets the housing needs of communities.
The best practice and lessons learned from each project will be shared with councils and embedded into the sector-led improvement currently on offer from the LGA.
Cllr David Renard, LGA Housing spokesperson, said:
“There was a significant nationwide housing crisis before COVID-19, forcing difficult choices on individuals, couples and families, hampering growth, and putting significant pressure on local services and council budgets.
“The pandemic has made these problems worse, and has highlighted stark inequalities within our society, especially the contribution of poor-quality housing and a lack of green space to ill-health.
“However, local government is at the heart of the solution. The LGA’s Housing Advisers Programme can make a huge difference to councils and the communities they serve.
“The programme aims to help councils deliver local priorities by tapping into the expert advice they need to innovate and improve in their efforts to build more homes, reduce homelessness, and address the impact of COVID-19 on their places and economies.
“It’s well worth councils who haven’t already done so looking at the programme and seeing how it can benefit them – a simple visit to the website is all that’s needed.”