Listed Mencap bond will buy houses for people with a learning disability

The first charity bond to be listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Order Book for Retail Bonds, launched today, will buy houses for people with a learning disability and allow investors to help create the accommodation needed by people with a learning disability.

The proceeds of the Bond will enable learning disability charity Mencap’s housing arm, Golden Lane Housing (GLH), to invest in buying and adapting much needed housing for people with a learning disability in their local communities.

These community based houses and bungalows will provide a lasting legacy for future generations of people with a learning disability.

The bond has been launched via Retail Charity Bonds, an independent non-profit special purpose vehicle.

Retail Charity Bonds is an initiative of Allia, a community benefit society with exempt charity status, and established in association with Canaccord Genuity.

Only 16% of people with a learning disability live in supported housing in the community.

Most live with friends and family or in residential care.

Many people with a learning disability struggle to compete on the open property market, making it virtually impossible to find housing in areas where there is no suitable social housing available.

The 2014 Retail Charity Bond follows on from GLH’s previous £10 million corporate bond issue which closed in July 2013, which has now been invested in buying and adapting 27 high quality houses and bungalows in community settings across the country which have become home to 99 tenants with a learning disability.

Mencap works with GLH and local authorities to identify and create a national pipeline of schemes.

Based on current accommodation trends and population growth, it is estimated that there will need to be more than 14,000 extra accommodation places in England and Wales over the next 15 years for people with a learning disability.

Local authorities will not be able to deliver this additional social housing for adults with a learning disability unless they work in partnerships with social landlords, housing providers and developers to find new solutions.

Jan Tregelles, chief executive of Mencap, commented: “People with a learning disability are facing a housing shortage. Most people with a learning disability want greater independence, and families want to know their loved ones are settled and supported in long term housing, which will meet their needs for years to come.

"In 2011 over 8,000 people with a learning disability were newly referred to local authorities for housing support. Alongside this, nearly 10,000 people were on housing waiting lists.

"When we add to this the thousands of people who will be returning to their communities from in-patient settings, the scale of the challenge becomes clear.

“Providing a home for people with a learning disability, transforms their lives and helps them to live the lives they choose in quality, permanent homes within their local communities.”

GLH and Mencap have also worked in conjunction with Nottinghamshire County Council.

Mark Jennison-Boyle, team manager of Supported Living Commissioning Team at Nottinghamshire County Council, commented: “Over the last year or so we have worked closely with Golden Lane Housing and Mencap to develop quality supported housing for people with a learning disability.

"Occupational Therapy staff and Care Managers helped Golden Lane Housing to identify and make the necessary adaptations to four large wheelchair accessible bungalows including specialist tracking hoists and bathing facilities.

“Through our partnership approach we have been able to move 16 people from residential care homes and long stay hospitals to some fantastic bungalows which have a much more homely feel and are more suited to their needs.

"Care managers and Mencap staff have seen some wonderful improvements in confidence and behaviour.

“This demonstrates the benefits people gain from supported living which is being provided at no extra cost to the local authority.”

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