Synergis Fund raises millions for disability housing
5 May 2020 at 5:38 pm
The fund is targeting $1 billion in investments over the next five years
A scalable investment fund looking to transform disability housing in Australia has secured $26.5 million after completing its second capital raise.
The capital from Synergis Fund, one of Australia’s first wholesale investment funds geared towards the disability housing sector, will be used to build homes for more than 100 people with disability through investments in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA).
The fund was established by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and Federation Asset Management, with the aim of securing $1 billion in investments over the next five years.
Michael Lynch, executive director of impact investing at SVA, said while it was early days, it was great for the fund to reach this milestone.
He said the Synergis model was built on putting people first.
“It will deliver high quality homes in a broad range of housing types for people who greatly need them, where they need them,” Lynch said.
“This will provide improved social outcomes for residents and systemic change in the disability housing sector in Australia.”
The Synergis Fund has around 50 properties under development or in the pipeline across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, with the first completed homes due in June.
SVA is partnering with disability service providers in the new developments to ensure people with disability have the support and choice they need.
Lynch said this would give people greater tenancy security and enhance financial returns for investors.
The National Disability Insurance Agency estimates that $5 billion in capital is needed to provide SDA for 12,000 National Disability Insurance Scheme participants.
According to a recent report from SVA and the Summer Foundation, close to 3,000 SDA places have been built or are in the pipeline but demand is growing.
Jason Walter, head of real estate at Federation Asset Management, said he was pleased with the strong support shown for the fund.
“We’re delighted by the response from investors despite the current unpredictable environment and we’re confident of the growth potential in this sector. Investors have shown they are too,” Walter said.
“As a strong market with increasing demand, there is great potential to work with other interested investors in the short to medium term.”
Some of the early investors in the Synergis Fund include HESTA, Suncorp, the Paul Ramsay Foundation, and clients of Australian Impact Investments.
HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said she was pleased to be working with SVA and Federation to boost investments in the burgeoning disability housing sector.
“A key goal of HESTA’s impact investment program is to encourage other large investors to make similar investments; we believe there’s a huge untapped potential for the financial sector to both invest for a return and make a difference,” Blakey said.
“Investing in the health and community service sector, where the majority of HESTA members work, will have the dual outcome of addressing the shortage in disability housing and also creating jobs and opportunities for our members.”