Grand Union helps unlock £8.9m of funding for 95 homes

Front doors of a row of new houses

Local housing provider Grand Union Housing Group has supported Milton Keynes YMCA and First Garden Cities Homes to secure extra funding, as part of a group of housing associations.

The consortium of housing associations was formed to support other organisations in their bids to secure funding from Homes England. The group helped YMCA MK to secure £3.3 million in grant funding, which will be used to provide 38 one and two bedroom apartments, in addition to their supported living campus in the centre of Milton Keynes.

The number of young people facing homelessness in Milton Keynes is increasing, with Milton Keynes having recorded one of the UK’s highest rates of homelessness in 2023. These new apartments will help the YMCA to increase the provision for homeless accommodation in Milton Keynes and help young people progress to living independently.

The grant is from a government funding programme called the Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme (SHAP), which will invest £2 billion over the next three years to help tackle homelessness and rough sleeping. The group supported YMCA MK by providing support in submitting the bid and ensuring the bid met the terms of the grant.

Dave Lakin, Director of Development & Commercial at Grand Union, said: “With young people more likely to be on lower incomes and the cost of living rising, it’s really important to provide support for young people in Milton Keynes so that they can progress to living independently. At Grand Union we believe in partnership and collaboration and we’re really proud to have played our part in helping to secure the funding.”

Simon Green, Chief Executive of YMCA MK said: “Housing options for young people are at crisis point with no mechanism currently in place to resolve this dire state of affairs. YMCA Milton Keynes are determined to improve life chances for young adults in our city, by growing and developing our property portfolio so that we can offer affordable homes to young people who have experienced homelessness but subsequently lived at our campus and moved their lives to a better place. The SHAP funding, and support from Grand Union in achieving it, marks a landmark step for us in becoming the housing provider of choice for young people in Milton Keynes and we hope will be the first of many such developments.”

As part of the same group of housing associations, Grand Union has also supported First Garden Cities Homes to secure £5.6million in grant funding for a 100% affordable development of 57 new homes in Letchworth, the world’s first Garden City.

The funding will be used to build homes for social rent, helping reduce pressure on housing waiting lists, and homes for shared ownership, helping more people in Letchworth to buy their first home.

John Walton, Head of Development & New Business at First Garden Cities Homes, said: “First Garden Cities Homes and Grand Union Housing Group have a shared commitment to providing good-quality affordable housing for local communities. We are therefore delighted that Homes England and North Herts Council agreed to provide funding for what is an important new affordable housing development of homes for social rent and shared ownership in Letchworth Garden City for local residents.”