Greater Manchester Pension Fund has backed a homelessness property fund set up by UK social impact investment firm Resonance.

Resonance said the UK’s local government pension fund has invested £10m (€10.8m) into the National Homelessness Property fund 2 (NHPF2) fund, alongside other investors including Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and Big Society Capital.

The NHPF2 fund has been launched with an initial investment of £20m and expects to reach £50m to £100m over time and provide around 870 affordable homes, Resonance said.

The predecessor fund which was launched in December 2015 acquired 229 properties and housed nearly 600 people. 

Resonance said the NHPF2 fund will initially focus on buying affordable homes in the Greater Manchester region and will expand nationally. The fund will buy the properties and lease them to the housing sector and homelessness charities.

Resonance said the fund has formed its first partnership with a group of registered housing providers in Greater Manchester known as Let Us, who will offer affordable homes to those at need across the Greater Manchester area.

Simon Chisholm, Resonance’s CIO, said: “Building on the success of our previous property funds Resonance is proud to launch our next social impact property fund, National Homelessness Property fund 2 which will initially focus on purchasing affordable homes across the North West.

“We are delighted that our first partnership is with Greater Manchester’s ethical lettings agent Let Us and that our initial investors into the fund Big Society Capital, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and - a first for a Resonance property fund, a pension fund investor, Greater Manchester Pension Fund – will enable the fund to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Brenda Warrington, chair, Greater Manchester Pension Fund said: ”It’s important to me that we are able to make a sound and socially impactful investment which will help provide much needed, affordable and refurbished accommodation for rent across Greater Manchester, whilst still generating a return for the pension fund, to enable it to meet the pension promises of our members, who mainly live and work in Greater Manchester.”

Karen Ng, investment director at Big Society Capital, said: “We are proud to continue our support for Resonance’s range of homelessness property funds established since 2012, further scaling a proven model which has raised over £200m to date and provided over 800 homes across the UK.”

Lee Sugden CEO of Salix Homes and chair of Let Us said: “We’re proud to be working in partnership with this significant fund which will help secure properties for people who really need a place to call home. Not only will this investment provide safe, high-quality homes which provide the foundation for a happy and successful life, it is also a real seal of approval for an initiative like Let Us, creating ethical private lettings on this scale.”

City Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, GMCA lead for housing, homelessness and infrastructure, said the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated an already alarming crisis of housing and homelessness in this country, and its impact will be felt for many months to come.

”We face a dangerous winter that threatens to push many more people into hardship, and we should be doing all that we can to prevent further housing insecurity.

“The National Homelessness Property fund 2 is, therefore, a timely initiative, and our investment will help us to address the fast-rising demand for social housing and give people in our city-region the security, stability and support they need.”

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