Emergency Housing For Women Escaping Domestic Abuse
The Women in Safe Homes fund is a gender-lens impact investment property fund helping address the housing crisis for women escaping domestic abuse, leaving the criminal justice system and at risk of or experiencing homelessness. It was launched in December 2020 as a joint venture of Resonance and Patron Capital with £15.5m in seed investment.
The need for the fund was highlighted by Big Society Capital as part of its work addressing the housing needs of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Having carried out a survey of sixty women’s sector organizations they discovered a significant demand for housing for women in challenging circumstances. To address this need, the Women in Safe Homes fund was created.
However, there is a chronic shortage of safe, decent and affordable housing for women at risk of and experiencing homelessness. This includes women who have experienced domestic abuse and are in need of a safe place to escape to from their abuser, women who have been released from prison and at increased risk of the cycle of reoffending when they don’t have a safe and stable home to go to; and women - often with children - living in temporary, poor and inappropriate accommodation, struggling to afford housing costs.
Using investment from its impact investors, the fund acquires and refurbishes properties – a mix of emergency refuge accommodation and two- and three-bedroom homes – leasing them to its expert, gender-and trauma-informed housing provider partners.
The housing partners, who to date include Refuge, Nacro, Winner, Daizybell Homes, SaferPlaces, Stop Domestic Abuse and Ella’s, then let these homes to women facing housing crisis, with a secure tenancy. One of the important differentiators of the fund is the specialist wraparound support provided to women by the fund’s partners. This holistic approach means women are not only provided with a safe and stable home but with support, they are empowered to take control of and create lives of their choosing, for themselves and their children. The impact of these housing partners to reliably scale up the provision of safe and secure housing in the community for this group is huge.
The fund has a target size of £100 million and to date has raised £28.2 million from 19 investors from the UK and US, including trusts, foundations and HNWIs. It aims to provide around 650 affordable homes across the UK and to house around 6,000 women (and children) over its lifetime. In the last year, the fund purchased its first properties in three regions of the UK and began handing some of these over to its housing provider partners who have started to house women and their children.
The fund follows a traditional pattern with an objective of income generated from rents and capital from appreciation when the properties are sold (most likely to a follow-on social impact investment fund) and builds on the successes of the impact property fund model established by Resonance’s three earlier and pioneering homelessness property funds.
The fund is continuing to deploy, acquiring, refurbishing and handing over more properties to partners to meet women's specific housing needs. It also continues to reach additional, experienced housing provider partners who are able to provide the specialist support needed for women the fund is housing.
Please remember if you invest in this fund, your capital may be at risk.
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