LAR leads the way in loan funding model
Housing charity LAR has welcomed a debate that highlights the need for more organisations to copy its loan-funding model to develop good quality affordable rented accommodation in Scotland.
LAR was very interested to read ideas put forward by think tank Common Weal in Scottish Housing News calling for more loan rather than grant funding to increase the supply of affordable homes across the country.
But the charity said that model already exists and it has a portfolio of 750 loan-funded homes either occupied, under construction or in planning at 30 sites across Scotland.
LAR chief executive, Ann Leslie, said: “It is always helpful to have housing as a key point of debate and we welcome other organisations looking at loan not grant funding. It is reassuring that others recognise the financial model we’ve been operating under since our launch as the way forward.
“For the last five years we have been helping to build communities and, in many cases, several branches of families have put down roots together at the same development or near to each other. Our charitable status, policies and ethos provide stability and reassurance to our tenants and we have been very fortunate to have received widespread and ongoing support from housing associations, councils, the building community and of course our funders, Bank of Scotland/Scottish Widows and the Scottish Government.”
LAR was launched in October 2015 with a £55 million loan from the Scottish Government to provide homes at mid-market rents to households that would otherwise be at risk of financial hardship. It subsequently secured £65m of private finance from Scottish Widows / Bank of Scotland.
The funding model has allowed it to purchase turn-key sites as well as developing its own design and build projects. This has included developing on previously derelict sites and renovating and refurbishing former office blocks into good quality homes.