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Bidding opens for specialist housing fund

Bidding has opened for a new £240 million specialist housing fund to tackle the issue of a lack of affordable properties for some of the most vulnerable members of society.

Organised by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the Care and Support Specialised Housing Fund has been launched by minister of care services Norman Lamb and is to be split into two phases.

The first will run for five years from 2013-14 and will focus on the provision of more affordable homes for older people and individuals with disabilities and is to be managed as a part of the HCA's wider Affordable Homes Programme.

A second phase will then focus on the sale of affordable homes and be run in collaboration with the Department for Health and the Department for Local Communities and Government.

Chief executive of the HCA Pat Ritchie said: "This fund recognises the benefits which high-quality housing opportunities for both older and disabled people can have in allowing them to remain independent for longer - raising their quality of life and helping reduce the burden on the health service.

"We are already delivering around ten per cent of our Affordable Homes Programme for supported housing and housing for older people, and the fund is a good opportunity to build on this."

He added that the initiative will enable the department to link specialist housing design with meeting the needs of vulnerable individuals in order to improve quality of life and developing innovative new ways to meet local needs and demand for homes.

Meanwhile, the HCA recently announced its plans for the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, with the project now in its final stage of funding.

The scheme was unveiled last month and features a new arena, redeveloped rail links and improved roads infrastructure, while the development aims to be a beacon for investment in the west of England. 

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