Big Society Bank backs rent scheme for homeless

A London local authority and a bank that invests money left in dormant bank accounts have become the latest backers for a scheme that buys properties to rent to homeless people.



The City of London Corporation, the local authority for the city of London, and Big Society Capital, a social investment bank, have invested £500,000 and £5 million respectively into the Real Lettings Property Fund.

The fund will buy 240 homes and Real Lettings, an enterprise arm of homelessness charity Broadway, will lease and manage them with support from residential developer United House.

Broadway’s assistant director of services, Susan Fallis, said: ‘Big Society Capital’s investment is a real vote of confidence in the Real Lettings Property Fund, which is the first of its kind in the UK, and will have a significant impact on what we can achieve for our clients.

‘One of Broadway’s aims is to ensure every person finds and keeps a home and, through this property fund, we are one step closer to making that a reality for so many individuals.’

The fund was launched by homelessness charity Broadway and social impact investment company Resonance in January last year and has so far received £16.25 million of investment. Previous investors into the fund include London & Quadrant Housing Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Lankelly Chase Foundation.

Simon Chisholm, investment director of Resonance, said: ‘This first round of investment in the fund has allowed us to commence operations and start to build the portfolio around clear financial and social impact goals.

‘We expect the fund to seek a second round of funding later in the year based on its initial track record. At its core is a simple principle, which we believe will have wide investor appeal – investing in property, for a purpose.’

Real Lettings already leases 167 flats from private landlords, letting them on to people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness. It focuses on people who have difficulty obtaining a social housing tenancy.


Article taken from Inside Housing, available here: