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New peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform launched to raise money for social housing

Abundance hopes to raise up to £4.25m to fund the construction of 30 social or affordable rental homes and supported living flats through the platform, with investors earning 4% interest a year for the 3-year investment term. 

Louise Wilson, co-founder of Abundance, said that £1.4m had already been invested in the fund by its customers.

She said: ‘We have had a remarkable amount of take-up in just a fortnight since the launch.’

‘We are offering long-term, stable homes to society’s most vulnerable people. The tenants will all qualify for social housing and therefore the rent is covered by the Local Authority. We want them to have a home they can feel proud of and the benefits of this filter into the community.

‘It will give them the confidence to find the means to cover the rent themselves without the fear of rent rises or eviction.’

Their first project will be called Merseyside Assured Homes in Liverpool, and the platform will fund the construction of 30 mostly two and three bedroom homes at three developments in and around the city. Each home is built to last and fitted with energy and water saving technology, as well as onsite renewables ‘whenever it commercially can.’

The properties will be offered to people and households on local waiting lists who are eligible to receive local housing allowance, and 9 flats specifically cater to people in need of supported living. The appointed registered social landlord will manage this process and take on maintenance of the properties and they say the rents will not exceed 40% of a tenant’s income.

The homes will be leased to the registered social landlord for 50 years, after which time it may buy them from Octevo for a nominal sum of £1 per property.

Over the past five years Abundance has unlocked £70m to help fund 31 green infrastructure projects ranging from community wind turbines to geothermal power.

Bruce Davis, joint managing director of Abundance, said: ‘Everyone wins when more people get access to stable and long-term homes, tenants benefit, communities are stronger and small investors get a fair return.

‘Abundance has led the way with our win-win approach to support the transition to a sustainable, green energy economy. Now we want to use the power of crowdfunding to help address the structural problems of the UK housing market.’

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter

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