£10m investment in housing to help disabled people and those in priority need

More specialist supported housing and affordable housing is to be provided in Greater Manchester, thanks to money that will be made available to two new funds.

Greater Manchester leaders agreed last week (29 May) to invest £10m from the Greater Manchester Housing Investment Loans Fund into two new funds.

The £10m will be at least doubled through the contribution of other investors to provide at least £20m. The funds will be managed by social impact investment company Resonance.

The investment is expected to enable the provision of up to 100 homes over the coming two years. Further investments in the future will be used to increase this number.

The first fund, the Resonance Supported Homes Fund, will be used to buy, refurbish and modify homes for people affected by:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism and neurodivergence
  • Mental health needs
  • Challenging behaviours; and
  • Physical impairments, including those with sensory impairment

Modifications could include wheelchair access, specialised bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens, and space for carers and assistants. The properties will then be leased to charity partners.

The second fund will be used to buy, refurbish and adapt homes for people who are in priority need of social housing. More than 26,000 people in Greater Manchester are estimated to fall into this category.

The homes will be let through specialist housing providers, such as housing associations or supported housing providers. The providers will have to work within the rules of Greater Manchester’s Ethical Lettings Agency framework. This gives private landlords the opportunity to let homes for social rent, provided they meet the high management standards set out in the framework.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “People with learning disabilities such as autism and other disabilities often have a really tough time, living in accommodation that is not suitable for or tailored to their needs.

“We want Greater Manchester to be a place where everyone is supported to achieve their full potential. Investment like this will help provide the homes and support that people with learning disabilities deserve and that will help them to live happy and fulfilled lives.”

Paul Dennett, GMCA Lead on Housing and Homelessness, said: “We urgently need to provide more affordable and specialist housing across Greater Manchester. 

“I’m very pleased to see the Greater Manchester Housing Investment Loans Fund being used in this way and that we are able to make these equity investments into two social impact funds that will help provide many more quality homes, supporting our Ethical Lettings Agency and delivering specialist housing in Greater Manchester.

“It will also attract other social investors to accelerate the impact and scale of our funding.

“It is more important than ever now that we deliver on the ambitions articulated in Greater Manchester’s Housing Strategy because of the impact COVID-19 on the economy and the way people are affected by their housing situation.

“We must take this opportunity to make available the right type of housing. That means more affordable homes, more homes adapted for people’s health needs and more energy-efficient housing - as we continue to build a better and fairer city-region.”

John Williams, Investment Director at Resonance, said: “We are delighted to have this commitment from Greater Manchester, it will mean that we can provide quality affordable specialist accommodation in the region. This commitment will also help us attract other socially minded investors.”

The Greater Manchester housing investment loan fund was created in 2015 and has been used to support projects to build new homes on brownfield sites, in the city centre and across all 10 boroughs. Since launch, it has been used to help provide more than 6,000 new homes.

Resonance is a social impact investment company and it will manage the two funds. Resonance already manages over £200m property investment, with over 800 homes across the UK. It has a track record of providing quality, affordable housing, and in harnessing other social investment.

Article Published: 04/06/2020 15:40 PM