Housing association L&Q has loaned £4.2m to Thames Reach, a charity for vulnerable people, to buy 20 properties to house people with severe mental health issues.
The ten-year loan will be used to support people who are currently living in registered care homes funded by the London Borough of Lambeth. The agreement will be known as the Brokerage and Re-settlement in Lambeth (BRiL) project.
The loan will be interest-only over ten years and will be charged at the cost of L&Q’s own rate of debt, allowing the charity to make a significant surplus on the deal. L&Q estimates that the deal will increase Thames Reach’s balance sheet by £1.5m.
L&Q is the largest housing association in London, and will work with the borough council and Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group on the project. The CCG will fund support and assistance for the individuals involved.
Thames Reach and L&Q have worked together for more than three decades. Thames Reach currently manages 61 units on L&Q’s behalf.
Sonia Bernard, assistant director – partnerships & support at L&Q, said that the registered care option was expensive and often unsuitable.
“The BRiL project is an innovative approach to improving housing options for people with long term mental health problems,” she said. “It is also a great example of true partnership working.
“The registered care model is expensive and arguably fosters long term dependency. There are cases where people remain in registered care, not because of need, but because there is an absence of other more suitable accommodation/service.
Bill Tidnam, Thames Reach's director of operations, said: "We're really excited about this new partnership with L&Q. They're an influential and successful organisation who are using their financial expertise to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people who would otherwise remain in institutions."