mil to get access to shared ownership/council house equality

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From Defence Intranet. Shared ownership schemes for service personnel and equal access to council housing for service leavers to be rolled out.

Affordable housing scheme extended for Service personnel
17/03/2008




Armed Forces and MOD personnel are now able to apply for an extended range of affordable housing schemes across England under the Government's Key Worker status.



Able Seaman Philip Owen, a Royal Navy Chef on HMS Gloucester, and his partner Jodie Hughes in their new key worker home [Picture: Swaythling Housing Society]
The scheme supports personnel who wish to buy their own property or gain access to social housing.

The Key Worker Living Programme was initially launched in 2004 for certain public employees, but it did not include Forces personnel until 2006, and then only covered regions in the South and East.

However, on 28 December 2007 Housing Minister Yvette Cooper announced that the scheme would be expanded to cover all English regions to give Forces personnel access to all of the options available under regionally run Key Worker Schemes.

The three Key Worker affordable housing schemes now available cover new build, first time buyers and open market homebuy. The open market homebuy element can boost the buying power of a Forces' family by up to a third.

The three schemes all allow personnel to buy a share of a home and get a first step on, or move up the housing ladder. An intermediate rental scheme is also available where the rent is set below the full market rent.

Terena Lawton the head of MOD's Living Accommodation Policy area said:


"The MOD has recognised that affordability issues are preventing many of the lower ranks the ability to access home ownership and are also contributing towards some retention issues. Eligibility to the Government funded affordable housing schemes across all regions in England are key to enabling resolving some of these issues.

"The MOD welcomes this news and will go on looking after Service Personnel's interest by continuing to work with the Department for Communities and Local Government."


Able Seaman Philip Owen, a Royal Navy Chef on HMS Gloucester, and his partner, Jodie Hughes, have already benefited from the scheme.

Eager to get onto the property ladder and set up house on their own - away from their families with whom they were living - as first time buyers, they were finding it difficult to afford current house prices.





Able Seaman Philip Owen (right) and Jodie Hughes purchased 50 per cent of a £215,000 brand new two bedroom apartment [Picture: Swaythling Housing Society]
But then they found out about the First Time Buyer's Initiative at Admiralty Quarter in Portsmouth, a new initiative set up by English Partnerships to help first time buyers and keyworkers take their first step on the property ladder.

Able Seaman Owen and Jodie were able to purchase 50 per cent of a £215,000, brand new two bedroom apartment, by way of a mortgage and a small deposit (courtesy of Able Seaman Owen's Long Service Advance of Pay), thus keeping their monthly outgoings at a comfortably affordable level. For the first three years they will pay £653 per month against their mortgage, then in year four an additional charge is payable on the remaining 50 per cent.

The move went extremely well. From submitting their application and reserving their new home to completion, took just over two months. And, they said, owning their own home has meant:


"We don't feel as though we are throwing our money down the drain any more, and we can enjoy our own space. Moving into Admiralty Quarter has changed our lives so much for the better."


To find out more about the First Time Buyer's Initiative and other Government assisted HomeBuy Schemes currently available, please contact the Joint Service Housing Advice Office through www.army.mod.uk/jshao.

The Key Worker programme is run on behalf of the Government by 'Homebuy Agents', who are located throughout England. These housing associations can register interest, assess eligibility and provide details of all the schemes in the area.

The Government has also agreed with the Department for Communities and Local Government that those leaving the Services will have access to social housing on a par with everyone else in the area in which they settle, by giving them 'local connection' status and therefore equality with their local counterparts. They will no longer go to the bottom of the Local Authority housing lists as they did before.
A clear sign of (overdue) value recognition, or spin?
 

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