Community Finance, an impact investment platform that brings together investors with Community Housing Providers to build affordable homes, has launched The Aotearoa Pledge – a bold vision to raise $100 million in 2021 to tackle New Zealand’s housing shortage.

$51 million has already been raised towards the target with commitment to the pledge from ANZ Bank, Generate KiwiSaver Scheme, Pathfinder Asset Management (manager of the CareSaver KiwiSaver Scheme), investment firm Forsyth Barr, the Lindsay Foundation, Clare Foundation and Waikato’s WEL Energy Trust.

James Palmer, Community Finance Chief Executive, says The Aotearoa Pledge brings together investors from a wide range of sectors to help deliver affordable homes that are fully financed by the private sector.

James Palmer, Community Finance Chief Executive.

“New Zealand needs more affordable houses. The housing system is broken, and The Aotearoa Pledge is designed to bring capital at scale to finance new affordable homes around the country.

“Impact investing through Community Finance enables investors to obtain the financial returns they seek, while delivering more affordable homes for current and future generations of Kiwis who need it the most.

“Collaboration is essential for solving the housing crisis Aotearoa faces. We need less talk and more action. We hope to see other fund managers, community foundations and businesses step up this year and join The Aotearoa Pledge to bring transformational change for the community and those in need. He waka eke noa. We are all in this together.”

Last year, Community Finance successfully raised $40 million for the Salvation Army Community Bond to build 118 new homes across three locations. The Community Bond is paying investors, such as the Tindall and Lindsay Foundations and Generate KiwiSaver Scheme, up to 2.30% pa.

Palmer says the Salvation Army Community Bond, which helped to house 150 adults and 59 children, highlights how the model is an efficient and robust solution for financing large scale affordable housing developments and is proven to deliver.

Steven Moe, Chair of Community Finance, says the response to The Aotearoa Pledge has been hugely encouraging.

“We welcome the early cornerstone investors and look forward to others joining them to help us reach our goal of $100 million pledged in 2021 towards positive change through impact driven investment.”

Shamubeel Eaqub, economist and Community Finance Director, believes the pledge directs the power of finance to the worsening housing crisis.

“I’m particularly excited to see private capital in the pledge. Our philanthropic partners’ generous support is already delivering results. But the housing crisis is too big to be solved by philanthropic funds alone. When we can unleash the investments of ordinary New Zealanders, to the benefit of housing New Zealanders, we can move the dial.”

The capital raised through the Community Bonds as part of The Aotearoa Pledge will be used to build more affordable homes throughout the North and South Island, as the housing crisis is now very much a national housing crisis.

ANZ Bank’s head of sustainable finance, Dean Spicer, says The Aotearoa Pledge is an innovative initiative aimed at increasing the supply of affordable housing and further supports the development of New Zealand’s impact investment market.

“Bonds such as this play an important role in mobilising international savings to increase the amount of housing available via Community Housing Providers and deliver improved outcomes for our communities.

“Providing access to affordable, liveable and sustainable housing is an important objective for ANZ and enables other market participants to help foster the market for community housing.

“This issue will give Community Finance the ability to expand potential funding sources available to community housing providers and allow ANZ the opportunity to consider new residential housing projects, which may be suitable for direct investment or for distribution of bonds, to capital markets investors.”

The Aotearoa Pledge is officially endorsed by Mindful Money and Te Matapihi and Community Housing Aotearoa, the peak bodies for New Zealand Community Housing Providers.

Additional Community Bonds are also in progress and will be launched in the future.

Press Release: Community Finance

Credit: Scoop Media