Social investment pilot to fund over 200 homes for rough sleepers


More rough sleepers and people at risk of homelessness will be supported into accommodation through a new social investment pilot that will create over 200 move-on homes, Rough Sleeping and Housing Minister Eddie Hughes MP have announced.

The three year pilot, which will run until 2024, will see GBP15 million of government funding combined with an additional GBP15 million provided by Big Society Capital, a social impact investor, to deliver over 200 move-on homes for rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness.

Big Society Capital is an independent financial institution that invests in a range of programmes aimed at delivering homes for vulnerable people.

The grant will fund the purchase of existing housing from the property market in partnership with local organisations and make them available at Local Housing Authority rent levels to ensure they remain affordable. 

Tailored support from charities and social enterprises that specialise in housing vulnerable people will be available to help residents maintain their tenancies, including addiction services, education and employment support and counselling.

This is part of the Government’s much wider action to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness with a further GBP750 million of investment this year alone.

The pilot will provide homes in Greater Manchester, London and Teesside with a smaller number of other homes provided in areas across England. It will run for three years, but the financial returns will be reinvested into providing homes for rough sleepers or those at risk of rough sleeping for the next 30 years.

Hughes says: “I am delighted to announce this partnership with Big Society Capital that will see a total of GBP30 million invested in new homes for rough sleepers.

“Over 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.

“This pilot is part of the Government’s much wider action with a further GBP750 million investment this year to help end rough sleeping for good.”

Anna Shiel, Head of Origination, Big Society Capital, says: “We are delighted to work together with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to invest GBP30 million to provide secure and affordable homes for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic — and beyond. 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, GBP80.4 million of additional investor capital has been brought into the sector.”

Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran, says: "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. It also highlights how funds released via the Dormant Assets scheme are being used to make a difference in communities across England.

"This additional GBP30 million from Government and Big Society Capital will be a welcome addition to the GBP750 million already committed to tackling homelessness across the country."

Social investment is a way to use private finance to fund projects that produce a social benefit, while also providing investors with a financial return.

This innovative pilot marks the first time the Department has used social impact investment to fund new homes.