£14,950 council kick start considered for Jewish housing in Harrogate

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An organisation specialising in providing housing for Jewish communities is set to receive a funding grant from Harrogate Borough Council, in a bid to kick-start projects in the district.

A proposal to grant £14,950 to Leeds Jewish Housing Association (LJHA) will be considered by cabinet member for housing and safer communities Mike Chambers at a meeting on February 19.

A report on the item states that the grant would be used by LJHA to employ someone to form a Community Housing Trust (CHT) which would then work on creating affordable housing projects.

LJHA states its intent is to create five affordable homes within 18 months of the trust being formed.

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The £14,950 comes from a £585,832 grant which the council received from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as part of a nationwide initiative to help create Community Led Housing (CLH).

The council's report recommends the proposal for approval, largely due to the association's readiness to start work.

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It comes off the back of few organisations being ready to commence CLH projects, with less than £85,000 of the £585,832 specialist grant allocated to trusts so far.

The association says it is not a religious organisation and "as such does not select applicants based on religion".

According to the LHJA, only 84.5 per cent of their current tenants in Leeds define themselves as Jewish.

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Rather, their allocation of homes works on a points based system across 38 areas, including existing property condition, financial issues and overcrowding.

Two of the 38 areas are specific to the Jewish community: one, that the applicant requires accessibility to Jewish communal facilities, and two, that the applicant is unable to afford accommodation in an area assessible to Jewish education or communal facilities.

"It is our experience that the main reason for normally wanting to be an LJHA tenant is to live in North Leeds close to friends and family and where people grew up," the report states.

Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporting Service