A £20m fund that is said to deliver ‘innovative models of housing’ has been set out by Welsh Government, with the money rolled out gradually over the course of the next two years. Contributing to the 20,000 affordable homes target expected to be met by the next election, Welsh Government are making efforts to ensure housing demand will no longer outstrip supply.
Communities Secretary, Carl Sargeant AM, was behind the launching the fund, and says future homes need to be cheaper to heat, more environmentally friendly and capable to adapt to the changing demands that the housing market boasts.
“I’m looking for new ideas, new ways of doing things, both in terms of what we build and how we build them. We need to start looking at more innovation, at homes that can be built faster as panels in factories or whole units delivered to site on lorries. We need to look at what homes are made from and what else they offer in terms of fuel bills, carbon emissions, jobs.
Building homes delivers important benefits beyond simply putting a roof over people’s heads. Alongside the well-documented health and education benefits that good quality housing provides for children and families, building homes of all tenures has a significant positive impact on the Welsh economy and on our communities.We can use the Welsh supply chain to unlock massive opportunities for growth and innovation in housing.”
In order to qualify for the support under the scheme, Welsh Government say homes must be built quickly, meet the affordability guidelines, create jobs and training opportunities, reduce carbon emissions and be made to a certain quality and standard.
Amazing Grace Spaces, a charity from Newport, are already working with such focuses, recycling shipping containers and converting them into one bedroom flats. Built with bathrooms, kitchens and living areas, the charity hopes to secure funding from the scheme to build ten in total.
Being exactly the type of project the fund aims to accelerate, Carl Sargeant says:
‘It’s a real clever solution, recycling what was once used as a transporting unit, now we’re able to house people in a very warm, effective environment, and I think this is planning for the long term and it also looks at an innovative solution to some of those issues we’re facing for the future.’