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Boris announces £220m fund for affordable homes schemes

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The Mayor of London has announced a £220million funding boost for two new schemes designed to help Londoners buy affordable homes.

The Mayor of London has announced that the First Steps Challenge Fund will be given £180million to speed up the delivery of 4,000 new homes between 2015 and 2020 in a bid to help people on low to medium incomes afford a home.

A further £40million has been allocated to fund a scheme which allows people with no deposit to buy a home.

The First Steps Challenge Fund fund will be made available on a recoverable basis so that the money can be reinvested into future affordable schemes.

The new funding pots were announced by the Mayor during a visit to the 343-home Broadway Malyan-designed Erith Park Phase 1, which is being delivered by Orbit Group housing association and Wates Living Space in the London borough of Bexley.

The regeneration project is set to be delivered in two stages and sees seven tower blocks replaced with 550 low-rise affordable homes. The scheme has been awarded £23million from the Mayor’s affordable housing fund.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: ‘Shared ownership is crucial in helping the unprecedented numbers of people in London desperate for good quality low cost housing.

‘Families need larger properties and Erith Park is testament to the number of well-designed affordable three bedroom family homes with gardens that can be delivered with good planning, major regeneration and investment.’

The £40million fund for Gentoo Genie ‘product’ in London will allow residents in London to purchase a home without a deposit through regular payments within their rental payments.

The scheme aims to deliver 2,000 new homes over the next 10 years, helping people who would struggle to save a large deposit for a mortgage. The company said that the homes would be new builds and the company would commission architects for projects once negotiations for several sites have been completed.

A spokesperson for Genie said: ‘The new homes will be new builds. We are looking at sites across London and once they have been decided upon we’ll be releasing more details. Locations will be in a suitable for first-time buyers at present we are in negotiations for a number of sites in the south and east of the capital.’

The new funds have been criticised by Labour Assembly group housing spokesperson Tom Copley AM who have said the scheme are a ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to what is needed in the capital.

Copley said: ‘Today’s announcement is a welcome recognition from the Mayor that he needs to do more to deliver affordable housing. Over seven years of Boris Johnson’s mayoralty vast numbers of people have been locked out of London’s housing market as prices have rocketed.

‘A major reason for this has been the Mayor’s persistent failure to build enough homes which are truly affordable. The evidence shows we need to build 62,000 homes a year in London but last year fewer than 18,000 were built, many of them priced well beyond what ordinary Londoners can afford.’

‘Whilst this new scheme is welcome the fact is it will not be fully delivered for another five years and the small number of homes it will deliver represents a drop in the ocean compared with what London is crying out for.’

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