Homelessness charity the Dublin Simon Community has launched a Social Impact Fund which is appealing to philanthropists to buy houses and lease them to the charity for up to 15 years.
Sam McGuinness, chief executive of Dublin Simon, told The Irish Times that they hope to secure enough funding to buy 50 units in the greater Dublin area over the next two years. The properties would be expected to cost at least €250,000 each which would need over €12 million from philanthropists.
Local authorities would also pay rent to Dublin Simon which would use this income to maintain the units and to source additional housing stock. Dublin Simon would be responsible for choosing suitable tenants, collecting rents, repairing and maintaining the properties, and returning them to the benefactors in good condition at the end of the lease period.
Irish stockbroker Davy is helping the charity promote the fund to high net-worth individuals, while estate agents and solicitors have offered to work with Dublin Simon for free on completing the property transactions.
The scheme is the initiative of food entrepreneur and housing agency chairman Michael Carey, and corporate financier Neil O’Leary. “We developed the idea and advised Dublin Simon on how to structure it,” Mr Carey told the newspaper.
Mr McGuinness said that the fund has already received eight adjoining, two-bedroom terraced homes near Francis Street in Dublin 8 from an anonymous benefactor. These have been provided rent-free for a 10-year period.
According to PWC there will be no tax advantages to investors in the scheme and the scheme will be “neither good nor bad from a tax perspective”, suggesting the involvement of wealthy individuals and businesspeople in the scheme is purely philanthropic.
In 2017 Dublin Simon had an income of €19.2 million, of which €8 million came from fundraising. Expenditure for 2017 was €15.7 million while the charity has reserves of €22 million.
Photo: Green Monopoly houses by Sai Yeung Chan on Shutterstock.com
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