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Charity develops £4.5m fund to tackle homelessness

A social investment fund worth £4.5m has this week been launched by charity Homeless Link to tackle the issue in local areas.

The fund will support housing agencies and social enterprises across England to reduce homelessness and is one of very few sector-specific funds in existence.

Money will be given out over the next three years, and will offer organisations unsecured loans worth between £25,000 and £150,000.

Homeless Link has stated that the fund aims to test and learn where social investment is best and most efficiently used in partnership with other options for sector funding.

The scheme, which is funded by Access – The Foundation for Social Investment – is due to be launched at an event in London on Monday 19 June.

“This fund is an exciting initiative, and we hope that the investments will unlock innovative ways of working with people experiencing homelessness, and help to put the recipient organisations on a sustainable footing,” said Homeless Link's director of strategy and innovation, Mark McPherson.

“Importantly, the programme will also help feed in to the bigger picture of how different funding mechanisms can work for homelessness services.”

McPherson added that social investment was increasingly being explored and used in the non-profit sector, offering a balance of accountability for results, and flexibility around use and repayment.

“Homeless Link intends to lead the way in understanding the role of social investment in our sector so that we can continue to support our members’ development,” he said.

Seb Elsworth, chief executive of Access, aid: “Homeless Link’s fund is a great step forward in making social investment more accessible and relevant to charities and social enterprises seeking to tackle homelessness.”

Elsworth added that the fund was a great opportunity for a membership body in the sector to play an “innovative role in connecting their members to capital and helping them develop new operating models”.

“We look forward to working with more infrastructure bodies to help grow social investment in other parts of the charity and social enterprise sector too,” he concluded.

Top Image: Jonathan Brady PA Archive

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