Homelessness Property Funds: Providing A Solution To Homelessness

God if I didn’t have this place I dread to
think where I would be, maybe back on the street, maybe back drinking. I wouldn’t know
where I would be, lost. The feeling of not having a home is all-consuming,
you really can’t focus on anything else if you haven’t got somewhere that you can live. When you use the
term ‘homeless’ most people
think rough sleeping, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The number of people who are
actually, technically homeless is enormous. There are 80,000 families who are in temporary
accommodation, today. Resonance is a social impact investment firm.
We manage a number of funds that its key purpose is around channeling useful capital into the
hands of social enterprises. The solution to the housing problem is we
just need to build more houses. People can’t wait for two years for their home to be built. Here you
have people
in real need. Here you have an opportunity to get some investment
funding and buy some assets in terms of properties, there’s got to be a way of putting it together.
And it was as simple as that. In partnership with St Mungo’s, Resonance has
set up three different funds over the last six years. The first one we called Real Lettings
Property Fund, Real Lettings is the letting agency that St Mungo’s run, and that focussed
on London. Outside of London we set up a fund called the National Homelessness Property
Fund, again working with St Mungo’s but across three new cities in the UK and then London
needed more, so we set up Real Lettings Property Fund 2, and overall we’ve raised over £200
million. The fund goes out and buys property on the open market, one and two bed flats,
which we refurbish to an agreed specification, we lease them to St Mungo’s and then they
make those properties available to families who are referred to them in housing need.
In weeks, not years. The block of flats I was living in was very
much a heavily drug use area, leaving there and coming here to moving in and not having
that environment around me was actually fantastic. What we didn’t want to do was replicate poor
quality, alternative temporary accommodation. We want people to live in ordinary streets,
in ordinary houses, and participate in their communities and draw strength and contribute
to those communities. I know the surrounding areas, my family’s all local. Alcoholics fear change, alright, we like stability.
Just knowing that I have a safe, secure home, a backup support network, is very important.
I’ve never had that before. We’ve managed to provide upwards of 800 properties,
but most importantly there’s over 2,000 individuals and families who we’ve helped, who’ve sustained
their tenancies. People are saving for deposits, 45% of people
are in work. Our heroes are the tenants. They’re the ones that inspire us, they’re the ones
that keep us going. I’m sober, I have everything to look forward to. A bright future, so that’s
what I have.

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