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First SIB to Target Homelessness


9 September 2015 at 11:04 am
Lina Caneva
The first social impact bond addressing homelessness in Australia, only the fourth of its kind in the world, will use $9 million to provide housing and support for 400 vulnerable South Australians.

Lina Caneva | 9 September 2015 at 11:04 am


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First SIB to Target Homelessness
9 September 2015 at 11:04 am

The first social impact bond addressing homelessness in Australia, only the fourth of its kind in the world, will use $9 million to provide housing and support for 400 vulnerable South Australians.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced the Government’s backing of the initiative which will be led by Not for Profit, Common Ground Adelaide (CGA) in partnership with the Hutt Street Centre.

CGA’s Executive Manager of Client Services, Rob Martin said the opportunity will enable the organisation to build on its success in ending chronic homelessness. Research shows 95 per cent of Common Ground tenants do not return to homelessness.

“Delivering real outcomes is key to this model and this is something Common Ground is not only committed to, but has a proven track record in,” Martin said.

“By combining safe, stable, affordable and decent housing with intensive, case managed support, Common Ground helps people overcome the issues which have led to their
homelessness so they can maintain housing and improve their lives.

“Where possible, we work to help them to gain employment or get back into the workforce, undertake study or training or to contribute to the community through volunteering.

“It’s not just about the positive impact on one life but also, the flow on impact to the community in terms of reduced pressure on the health system and other public resources, improved community safety and reduced dependency on welfare payments.”

Martin said CGA will rely on the support of other organisations in the sector.  

“Common Ground and the Hutt Street Centre already work together to support more than 100 clients a year,” he said.

“Through this new venture, and with the ongoing support of Social Ventures Australia, Hutt Street, Red Cross and the wider homelessness sector, we have an unprecedented opportunity to help some of the most needy South Australians turn their lives around for good.”

CGA is part of the Housing Choices Australia Group, a provider of affordable and social housing for the disadvantaged. Managing Director, Michael Lennon praised the SA Government’s innovation.

“This is a time for new thinking. If capital can’t be raised by the public sector, we need to find other sources,” Lennon said.

“This new social impact bond will create a significant new revenue stream for CGA to keep doing what it already does well but on a larger scale.”

Funding for the Social Impact Bonds is provided at risk by social investors whose financial return is aligned to the positive social impact of meeting pre-agreed social outcomes.

South Australia Minister for Health Jack Snelling said the next stage of the venture is developing a prospectus for investors.

“The focus on improving outcomes is a key feature of the model, with the return to investors varying – depending on the success of the program,” Snelling said.

“The proposal from the Hutt Street Centre and Common Ground aims to deliver intensive support to at least 400 South Australians who have experienced homelessness.

“The Hutt Street Centre and Common Ground proposal involves intensive support to individuals over three years – helping them find a place to live, the training they need to secure work and ultimately re-engage with society.”

Snelling said the decision to work with CGA and the Hutt Street Centre was made following a recent Expression of Interest process for social impact bonds which invited proposals from the non-government sector.

“Social impact bonds are being trialled in New South Wales, with other states investigating establishing programs – but it’s still relatively unexplored territory in Australia,” he said.

“We’ve chosen to take this project to the next stage of negotiation as it has the potential to
achieve significant benefits for the broader South Australian community.”

The announcement follows the second-year results of Australia’s first social benefit bond in NSW which successfully restored 66 children in out-of-home with their families while delivering strong returns to investors.


Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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