Big Society Capital will develop a Women Housing Fund to invest in properties which can be leased to support providers. At the Social Investment Consultancy, we are very excited to be a co-development partner and we are looking forward to working with other partners, including Women’s Aid, Homeless Link, Women’s Pioneer Housing, Comic Relief, Trust for London, City Bridge Trust as well as Ms. Alison Inman (former President of Chartered Institute of Housing), and Ms. Lisa Hilder (Trustee of Preston Road Women’s Centre).
Big Society Capital is responding to the needs of vulnerable women, who are being failed by the current housing market and housing policies. Women constitute the largest population of homeless adults living in temporary accommodation (66%), and 60% of referrals to refuge are turned away, and the proportion is even higher for BME women. In addition to this, Big Society Capital stresses that housing is a gendered issue, as women’s homelessness is often linked to domestic abuse and their paths into and out of homelessness often differ from men.
After speaking to 60 women’s sector organisations, Big Society Capital realised that providers who want to invest in housing to support vulnerable women face multiple barriers (lack of funding, high cost), and that long-term leases could be a better solution than direct purchase for some providers. This is why Big Society Capital will be working with its partner to develop a Women Housing Fund and share its findings with the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government to better design their funding (such as Move On Fund) to address the housing needs of vulnerable women.
Read more about Big Society Capital’s Women Housing Fund here.