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Big Society Capital invests £15m to house rough sleepers

A total £30m will fund buying move-on homes in Greater Manchester, London and Teesside

The UK government and social impact investor Big Society Capital are providing £30m funding to house rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness.

Working with fund managers Bridges Fund Management, Resonance, and Social and Sustainable Capital, Big Society Capital is providing £15m to help buy more than 200 existing properties, initially in Greater Manchester, London and Teesside, over the next three years.

Together with local organisations these properties will be turned into ‘move-on homes’ – supported accommodation that acts as a stepping stone between homelessness and full independence – rented out at local housing authority rates.

Anna Shiel, head of origination at Big Society Capital, said:This partnership between central government and Big Society Capital is the first of its kind, and a promising demonstration of the role social investment can play in delivering national policy objectives aimed at ending rough sleeping and homelessness.

“It is also an example of how public sector bodies can use social investment to put public money harder to work by leveraging additional money from investors. Thanks to the combined efforts of the impact fund managers Bridges Fund Management, Resonance and Social and Sustainable Capital, £80.4m of additional investor capital has been brought into the sector.”

The other £15m is being provided by the ministry of housing, communities and local government as part of the government’s plan to invest £750m to tackle homelessness. This is the first time the government has used social impact investing to fund new homes.

Eddie Hughes MP, minister for rough sleeping and housing, said: “More than 37,000 people have been housed through Everyone In and this social investment pilot will help to provide additional settled accommodation and support to help rough sleepers off the streets permanently.”

Minister for civil society, Baroness Diana Barran, added: “I very much welcome the investment from Big Society Capital in this project, which is a great example of the voluntary and public sectors working together to improve the lives of those sleeping rough.”

Big Society Capital has supported several homelessness property funds, such as Resonance’s Everyone In Limited Partnership, Resonance and Patron Capital’s Women in Safe Homes Fund and Resonance’s National Homelessness Property funds.