£50 million request for 'Homes for Covid Heroes' in West Midlands

A raft of affordable housing for frontline workers could soon be built across the region as part of a new "Homes for Covid Heroes" programme.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street

The housing and regeneration team at the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) say they are are proposing "a new, pioneering homes offer for the region’s key workers" as part of the authority's economic recovery strategy for the region.

The authority is asking for £50 million of funding from central government to help implement the scheme, as well as policy support to enable its implementation.

"'Homes for heroes' builds on our regional affordable housing definition that includes key worker provision within its criteria," a spokesperson for the authority said.

“This could include a fundamental shift in approach, for example shifting a scheme from 20 per cent 'affordable housing' to 75 per cent key worker housing, reshaping the approach to affordability in acknowledgement of these challenging times.”

The programme will enable homes to be built and allocated for essential workers, with the WMCA’s Design Charter ensuring design and construction quality to all new projects built in the West Midlands.

And West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said he believes it’s the least the region can do to thank those who have led the fight against coronavirus.

"These brilliant people have helped us through some of the hardest times our region has ever seen," he said.

"Now it’s our turn to do all we can to support them. Through our ask of government we hope to receive funding to provide high quality, affordable homes for those on our front line.

"Providing more homes that people can afford is a priority in our long-term plan for the West Midlands, and this special ask for support for our Homes for Covid Heroes project is an important part of this plan, as we make effort to recharge and rebuild our economy following the impact of the pandemic.

"So as we’ve come together as a region to fight the virus, we should also come together to provide more people who’ve led that fight with the affordable homes they deserve."

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