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The Mayor of London is forming a partnership with Big Issue Invest to renovate empty properties into much needed new affordable homes in the UK’s capital city. Boris Johnson has awarded a £10 million loan from his Housing Covenant to Big Issue Invest who help small community organisation's to renovate empty homes or buildings to convert them into good quality affordable housing for Londoners to rent or part buy. The funding will revolve over a 10 year period and result in up to 400 empty homes being transformed into good quality low cost housing. In addition it will provide long term unemployed people, veterans and out of work young people from across London the opportunity of employment and training in construction. The Mayor's Housing Covenant supports organisations proposing innovative ways of delivering affordable housing through a Revolving Fund and is one of a number of housing schemes the Mayor is delivering to boost affordable housing, stimulate building and fast track the delivery of thousands of much needed new homes. The proportion of empty homes in the capital has fallen dramatically under the Mayor, and at 0.7% is now at the lowest level since the 1970s. Over 5,000 empty homes have been brought back into use through GLA housing programmes since 2008. ‘With the huge demand for housing it's essential we get empty properties back into use, which is why I'm helping innovative projects renovate them back into much needed affordable homes,’ said Johnson. ‘Big Issue Invest are masters of boosting community social enterprise and delivering key employment and training skills to the homeless and unemployed people who need our extra support. This funding sits alongside my affordable home programme which is on track to deliver 100,000 new low cost homes across the city,’ he added. The Big Issue Group's chairman, Nigel Kershaw, described it as an exciting opportunity. Big Issue Invest is a specialist provider of finance to social enterprises. It provides investment from £50,000 to £1.7million and develops innovative financial solutions which help organisations tackle poverty and create opportunity. Since 2005 Big Issue Invest has invested over £27 million across the UK in more than 330 social enterprises, directly benefitting over 1.8 million people. The new loan will allows Big Issue Invest to finance and support more innovative housing projects undertaken by social enterprises and charities. These projects will serve to increase the volume of affordable housing available in London. The Mayor's commitment to getting empty homes back into use and boosting affordable housing is part of a package of wider measures he is promoting to stimulate house building. Continue reading →
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