Disability NFP Convenes Social Finance Think Tank
Wednesday, 4th November 2015 at 10:10 am
Philanthropic Trust, the Summer Foundation has convened experts in finance, law, housing and philanthropy to form the Social Finance Think Tank, charged with exploring impact investment models that would provide young people with disability alternatives to living in nursing homes.
The Think Tank, chaired by businessman, philanthropist and former Australian of the Year, Simon McKeon AO, was developed from the Summer Foundation’s Housing for Young People in Nursing Homes report.
The Foundation said its latest project, in the NDIS trial site in Hunter, New South Wales, is creating innovative housing and support to demonstrate a new and more inclusive housing option for people with significant disability.
“In the current economic environment, government and philanthropy combined do not have the resources required to build the scale of accessible and affordable housing we need in Australia. Over the past few years there has been a growing interest in social investment,” McKeon said.
“However, in Australia there is a limited pipeline of projects and enterprises that are ‘investment ready’ and inherently scalable to make use of this capital.
“The Summer Foundation's Social Finance Think Tank provided a timely opportunity for people from a range of disciplines to have grounded conversation and explore a model of social finance for a real life project.”
According to the Foundation, more than 6000 young people around Australia live in aged care nursing homes, which are not suited to their needs. Many of these people are also socially isolated.
“Our long-term vision is that this model of integrated housing for people with disability is routinely included in all new medium and high-density residential developments throughout Australia,” Foundation CEO Dr Di Winkler said.
The Think Tank identified strategies to bridge the gap between the rental income stream of people on a disability support pension, and the cost of apartments that are well-located and designed, and incorporate communications and smart-home technology.
The report said the Hunter Housing Demonstration Project would utilise philanthropy and early adopters of impact investment, including high net worth individuals, trusts and private ancillary funds, with future projects aimed at attracting wider investment.
“The first models of social finance will be bespoke. Funded in the main by philanthropy, both grants and use of capital, and government, they will provide proof of concept of the model of social investment and the housing and support model,” the report said.
“This will enable the Summer Foundation and other organisations to move on to the next phase – necessary for achieving scale – of attracting more commercially minded investors.
“Initially this would be superannuation funds that have an active interest in impact investing… and ultimately ordinary commercial investors.”
The Summer Foundation also said the strategies, insights and conclusions documented in the report had relevance for a broad range of housing projects for people with complex disability, and other groups of people who experience disadvantage.