At an official declaration today (Tuesday February 21) to launch Birmingham City Council’s Armed Forces Community Covenant, the local authority will announce the country’s first scheme to help ex-service personnel gain a foot on the property ladder.
The Veterans’ Homebuy scheme will allow former servicemen and women the opportunity to own their own home with the help of the council who will offer assistance with a shared equity loan. The loan will enable those who have served to purchase property through the Birmingham Municipal Housing Trust – the council’s house building initiative.
Cllr John Lines Cabinet Member for Housing will make the announcement where he will be joined by Birmingham’s Lord Mayor, Ministry of Defence officials, the local armed forces community and other representatives.
The official signing of the Armed Forces Community Covenant aims to build a symbiotic relationship where the military draws support from the community, and in return, the forces offer their skills to benefit local people. It will also involve charities and voluntary organisations in Birmingham.
City Council event partners and sponsors – Keepmoat and Kier Partnership Homes – will host the event which takes place at 11.15am on Tuesday 21 February at the Council House.
Cllr John Lines, Cabinet Member for Housing said: “For the first time there is a home buying scheme for those who have put their lives on the line for their country.
“The scheme will help ex-service personnel to purchase an affordable house, giving people the chance to put down roots and build a new life outside of the forces.”
The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Cllr Anita Ward, said: “I’m honoured to be involved in such a positive initiative which not only helps ex-armed forces personnel gain a foot on the property ladder, but it also seals the relationship between the military, charities, voluntary organisations, local people and the City Council.”
Brigadier Mark Banham MBE, Commander of 143 (West Midlands) Brigade, commented: “The declaration between the military and the council will help to bind what will become the start of a significant relationship between all parties involved. We are proud of our involvement and look forward to carrying our relationship into the future.”
Commenting on the support of Kier Partnership Homes, Chris King, Managing Director, said: “We are proud to be involved with the launch of this vital and worthwhile Covenant. Our existing partnership with Birmingham City Council in delivering much needed quality housing for the city leaves us uniquely placed to extend that partnership to assisting returning armed forces personnel.”
Eugien Jaruga, Director of Partnerships at Keepmoat, said: “At Keepmoat we are passionate about building communities and not just bricks and mortar. We aim to create neighbourhoods where people want to live and in which they take pride. This Covenant is all about building community relationships and that is why we are pleased to be supporting it.”
For media enquiries only contact Karen Blanchette on 0121 303 6969. For any other city council enquires call 0121 303 1111.
Notes to editors
Veterans’ Homebuy is made possible by using the flexibility of the New Homes Bonus – an incentive introduced by the government.
Council can provide up to 10% of the sale price of the house ex-servicemen would pay a minimum of 5% deposit.
Ex-servicemen who have served in the Navy, Royal Marines, RAF or Army for a minimum of three years, or less if injured in service, and the widow(er) of service personnel.
Able to obtain a mortgage with a recognised lender.
The Covenant aims to offer measures which include:
•the council offering Shared Equity loans, assisting veterans to finance a deposit on a new home
•encouraging veterans to volunteer as reading supporters, learning supporters, computer helpers, research assistants, conservation assistants and trainers
•providing assistance for disabled service personnel to identify suitable new housing and offer access to the Home Improvement Service for injured veterans
•voluntary organisations building links with the Forces in Mind Trust to ensure Birmingham’s voluntary sector can contribute to providing long-term support and advocacy to make a successful transition to civilian life for service personnel and veterans
•the council offering additional allocation points for those requiring social housing on leaving the forces
•the council promoting the Be Active scheme to the Armed Forces and they will be encouraged to run health and fitness classes in leisure centres and parks.
•to apply for the Veterans’ Homebuy loan contact 0121 675 4685 or www.birmingham.gov.uk/bmht Application forms are also available at BMHT sales offices.