What you need to know to invest in this fund
The Women In Safe Homes Fund (WISH Fund), believed to be the world’s first gender-lens property fund, is being launched as a solution to the lack of affordable, safe and secure homes across the UK for women and their children, who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. They may be survivors of domestic abuse, ex-offenders, or have other complex needs such as mental health problems.
Alongside the potential of a financial return for investors, the Fund has a strong focus on achieving substantial positive social impact, by supporting women in challenging circumstances. Partnering with women’s sector charities, the women will be provided with housing and access to the support networks needed to help them rebuild their lives.
The Fund will acquire the properties and lease to women’s sector and homelessness charities which, in turn, will rent to women, with a secure tenancy, who would otherwise be experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The impact of these charities 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 aims to provide around 750 affordable homes across the UK. It will follow 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). It will also build on the successes of the social impact model implemented through our three Homelessness Property Funds.
The Fund will be targeting a first close April 2020 at around £15m-£30m and is currently taking expressions of interest from qualifying investors.
The need for the Fund was highlighted by Big Society Capital (an independent special investment institution) as part of its work addressing the housing needs of people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. They carried out a survey of sixty women’s sector organizations and discovered a significant demand for specific housing for women in challenging circumstances.
This led to Big Society Capital drafting a property fund proposal. Resonance and leading property investor Patron Capital collaborated to create and manage the Fund, and have been appointed joint Fund Manager. Big Society Capital has agreed in principal, a commitment of £10 million.
The Fund has already formed its first partnership with leading women’s sector charity, Preston Road Women’s Centre in Hull, which will offer safe homes and help other women’s sector organizations to replicate its pioneering recovery model for women and children. Further women’s sector and homelessness charity partners are currently being sought.