HARAH! 10 steps to developing affordable housing for local people is launched

A new 10 step guide to developing an affordable housing scheme for local people in the rural villages has been sent to all Parish Councils in Hampshire. The guide has been produced by the Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH).

The aim of the guide is to provide clear information to Parish Councils, who are often acutely aware of the needs of local people in their communities. The guide explains how the whole process of developing affordable housing works, and who Parish Councils need to contact if they would like help in their village.

Many villages have the experience of local people being unable to afford to live in the places where they were bought up, work or have strong family connections. Whilst many successful rural housing schemes have been built in Hampshire villages, these have often taken a long time to provide. This can be due to the difficulties of finding sites, land negotiations, obtaining funding and planning. The impact of this is that many rural villages have lost members of their community as they have had to find housing elsewhere.

HARAH was formed to help make the provision of rural affordable housing more efficient, providing housing of consistent high quality and increasing the availability of funding to provide more affordable homes to local people in a shorter timescale.

HARAH working with Hyde Housing Association have been very successful in obtaining grant funding from the Housing Corporation. For the 2006-8 National Affordable Housing Programme Hyde received £7.8M for 21 rural schemes throughout Hampshire.

Fiona Cruickshank, Director for the Housing Corporation South East. said: "I am delighted that the Housing Corporation is involved in raising awareness of the processes involved in developing affordable housing in rural areas. We are confident that through the partnership work of HARAH  we will improve deliverability and maximise the numbers of affordable homes for families in rural villages across Hampshire."

For more information please contact: Mark Barnett, Enabling Officer, Winchester City Council, City Offices, Colebrook Street, Winchester, SO23 9LJ  Tel 01962 848 210.