Home North West £20m social investment property fund launched to help the homeless in the...

£20m social investment property fund launched to help the homeless in the North West

Simon Chisholm, Chief Investment Officer at Resonance

Individuals and families at risk of homelessness in the North West will benefit from a new £20million social impact homelessness property fund.

Resonance, one of the UK’s leading social investment companies, has joined forces with local ethical lettings agency Let Us to tackle the rising number of people living in temporary/ inappropriate accommodation or at risk of being left without a home in the region.

A minimum of £5m has been ring-fenced initially to purchase and refurbish at least 50 one-bedroom properties across Greater Manchester, with the potential for up to 100 more one, two and three-bed homes in the area and across the wider North West region.

The National Homelessness Property fund 2, which is being backed by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Big Society Capital, works by acquiring houses, flats or apartments and then leasing them to the housing sector and homelessness charities. The initial investment will provide over 250 individuals at risk of homelessness with a settled home.

This could include people in temporary accommodation, the street homeless or those currently living in inappropriate accommodation such as B&Bs, with Let Us signposting households to further support that will help them sustain their tenancy and improve their circumstances.

“With homelessness on the rise, the need for safe, decent and affordable housing is significant; in Greater Manchester alone over 80,000 people are on social housing waiting lists,” explained Simon Chisholm, Chief Investment Officer at Resonance.

“Building on the success of our previous property funds, we are proud to launch the National Homelessness Property fund 2, which will initially focus on purchasing affordable homes across the North West.

“This is being made possible thanks to our exciting partnership with Greater Manchester’s ethical lettings agent Let Us and initial investors Big Society Capital, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and – in a first for a Resonance property fund – a pension fund investor in the shape of Greater Manchester Pension Fund.

“This will enable the fund to make a real difference to hundreds of people’s lives across the region.”

Resonance’s partnership with Let Us – a group of five housing providers including Bolton at Home, ForHousing, Salix Homes, Stockport Homes Group and Wigan Council – will see more high-quality homes in the private rented sector made available to tenants who really need them.

The organisation already manages properties on behalf of many private landlords and is looking to help even more local landlords as part of the initiative.

The fund will also aim to work with charity partners, who can support individuals and families to find employment or education, to set down roots in the community and help them
save for a deposit, so that they can eventually move into the private rented sector with a track record of maintaining a tenancy.

Lee Sugden, Chief Executive of Salix Homes and Chair of Let Us, added his support:

“We’re proud to be working in partnership with this significant fund, which will help secure properties for people who really need a place to call home. Not only will this investment provide safe, high quality homes that provide the foundation for a happy and successful life, it is also a real seal of approval for an initiative like Let Us, creating ethical private lettings on this scale.

“It is another example of how the North West is coming together in its mission to tackle homelessness and I’m sure this fund will provide another big step forward.”

Whilst the North West will be the initial focus of the National Homelessness Property fund 2, the aim is to attract more institutional, pension fund, foundations and professional investors to help purchase properties across the UK.

In total, Resonance is hoping to generate £100m, driven by organisations and individuals keen to make the most of the financial return, capital appreciation and being part of a movement that will achieve substantial positive social impact by helping to reduce homelessness.