HARAH! Website goes live to show how affordable housing for local people can be built in rural villages

A new website has been launched today by the Hampshire Alliance for Rural Affordable Housing (HARAH) - www.HARAH.org.uk

The website shows how local communities can develop affordable housing for local people in rural villages in Hampshire.

This new resource provides clear information for Parish Councils, Local Councillors, community groups and individuals, in fact anyone with an interest in the needs of local people in their communities. The website explains about HARAH and how the whole process of developing affordable housing works, including who 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.

Working with Hyde Housing Association HARAH 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.

Cllr Tony Coates Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities said, "As a former Parish Councillor who is actively involved in the process of providing Rural Exception Sites for local villages, I welcome the launch of the HARAH web site, the Rural Excellence Programme, and the recent documents sent to all Hampshire Parishes concerning '10 Stage Guide to developing an affordable housing scheme for local people in a rural community'." 

Note to editors:
HARAH is a partnership of the six Local Authorities in Hampshire that have rural areas (Basingstoke & Deane, East Hampshire, Hart, New Forest, Test Valley, Winchester), the Rural Housing Enablers based at Community Action Hampshire and the Housing Corporation. Hyde Housing Association joined the partnership as the affordable rural housing provider following a competitive selection process. By working together on rural housing issues we intend to make a difference to improve the timescale of provision of affordable housing, the quality and the community integration of new homes. We are keen to work closely with Parish Councils on meeting the needs of the local rural communities.

The Hyde Group is one of the largest housing association groups in the country. We provide housing and related services to over 75,000 people in London, Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.