Case Study

Safe Haven

Project Highlights

  • Delivery of New Social Housing
  • £70m delivered over ten years
  • New bespoke charity with UKSF team as initial principals
  • Partnership with Bank of Ireland
  • Over 500 people taken out of bed & breakfast accommodation and housed
  • UKSF managed the charity successfully for twelve years
  • Charity has gone from strength to strength with £20m surpluses reinvested

On 19th October 2004, the Cabinet of the London Borough of Ealing agreed to work with UKSF to deliver up to 200 units of long term housing for borough residents currently living in short term leased accommodation. UKSF established a new charity called Safe Haven London to acquire the houses and flats and then refurbish them all to a ‘Decent Homes’ standard. The first property was bought in January 2006.

Bank of Ireland worked with UKSF to create a new type of loan finance, where the Bank advanced money for the purchase and renovation of each home before it was handed over to residents within the London Borough of Ealing for ten year occupancy. The loan then switched from a revolving facility to a term loan on a property-by-property basis.

All rents were set for an initial ten years, so giving the Council certainty over its payments for the duration of the first phase of the scheme. Since the tenancy renewals began in 2016, rents have been realigned to Local Housing Allowance rates and so are fully covered by housing benefit. A full refurbishment of the units has been undertaken again as they reach their ten year anniversary.
UKSF masterminded the whole endeavour, being responsible for finding the properties; managing the conveyancing and surveys; procuring the debt required for purchases; and administering the Charity throughout the first twelve years of its life.

UKSF was joined in this project by the Department for Communities and Local Government (under the guise of Partnerships UK back in 2006), who provided the initial seed corn equity required to launch the Charity. Peter Impey of DCLG said “We are delighted to be associated with UKSF’s Safe Haven project. Whilst the first phase helped to meet the London Borough of Ealing’s needs, we feel that the Safe Haven concept can also be readily adopted by other Local Authorities seeking to secure a longer term solution to the provision of accommodation for the homeless.”

UKSF feels that this is an exciting project that provides a real housing solution to London Boroughs without the need to see money leaking out into the private sector. With Safe Haven being a charity, we secured best value for Ealing using socially responsible finance for the future.