Women’s Property Initiatives CEO Jeanette Large, left, and Local’s head of corporate and ESG Clare Tayt.
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Local boosts social and affordable housing in partnership with Women’s Property Initiatives
Local has established an industry-leading partnership with Womens Property Initiatives (WPI), a not-for-profit community housing provider that provides affordable accommodation to women and children in need across Melbourne.
Read more about how Local’s Impact Housing approach as covered by Michael Bleby in the Financial Review.
Commencing at Local’s flagship Kensington project, to be completed in 2024, the first phase of the partnership will deliver 33 apartments for women and children. 22 will be allocated to women and children experiencing insecure housing and 11 to women over 55, which is the fastest growing group of Australians experiencing homelessness.
Local has successfully established a housing model that delivers tangible social benefits while still targeting above-average market returns without government support or tax concessions.
Local’s model includes a minimum of 10 percent and up to a third social, affordable and specialist disability accommodation in each of its developments; with the intention to grow this to a minimum of 1,500 social and affordable homes over the next decade as part of its development pipeline target of over $5B.
“It is fundamental to our business philosophy at Local that we become part of the solution to Australia’s housing crisis,” said Local’s Head of Corporate and ESG, Clare Tayt.
“Local stands apart in the residential property sector in delivering social and affordable housing in its projects which exceed our planning obligations, all without relying on government subsidies, charitable tax concessions or planning bonuses.”
“To be able to address the lack of housing supply, future government support is essential in order for developers to be commercially incentivised.
“Whilst the industry awaits approval of the Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF), the onus rests on everyone in the broader property industry to step up and play their part. This includes addressing the housing shortage for key workers and the most vulnerable segments of our community, an area for which the market is failing,” said Tayt.
“Our institutional investors expect not only market returns, but also a positive social impact, all backed by a meticulously crafted execution strategy from the get-go, and we are one of few developers in the Build-to-Rent space that are able to demonstrate a plan for achieving this.”
“There is now an unmistakable push by interstate governments to incorporate more affordable housing into BTR developments, and by adapting a proactive stance through established partnerships such as this one with WPI, we can instil confidence and encourage investment opportunities,” said Tayt.
In tandem with delivering exemplary financial returns for investors, Local is harnessing a range of advantages from both a customer and business perspective by creating positive impacts on the housing sector.
“In an evolving landscape, the next generation of tenants and staff are actively seeking brands that resonate with their values and embody authentic social commitment. When presented with a choice, these discerning audiences will select brands dedicated to creating community impact over one that isn’t, and this competitive advantage directly translates into value for our business and stakeholders.
“The application of this very principle is evident in our investor relationships; as our dedication to providing sustainable, high-quality rental homes, along with our commitment to impact housing played a pivotal in in NAB’s decision to extend debt funding over other build-to-rent developers,” said Tayt.
WPI CEO, Jeanette Large said: “On any given night, there are 54,000 women who are homeless in Australia, and a considerable number of them have grappled with exorbitant rental costs associated with the private housing sector.”
“Local’s ethos is closely aligned to ours, one where everyone deserves a safe, secure and affordable place to live and that single women, particularly older women, are amongst the most disadvantaged cohorts when it comes to accessing a secure home.
“Our key objective is to increase the availability of secure and affordable housing for vulnerable women, and our partnership with Local will help us reach this goal; growing the number of homes we are able to offer and providing an important revenue stream.,” Jeanette Large said.
“This partnership signifies the beginning of our commitment to building strategic relationships with key impact housing providers, supporting those most in need as we build out our pipeline across Australia,” Clare Tayt said.
The partnership with WPI is one element of Local’s broader ESG commitments outlined in its inaugural ESG report which sees the BTR developer, manager and operator commit to being net zero in operations immediately and reducing upfront embodied carbon on each of its projects by 30% by 2030.