Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA) and the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (LMCF) have joined forces to establish a new social impact fund to tackle homelessness and the growing affordable housing crisis in Victoria.

According to the SEFA, homelessness in Australia has increased by 8% in the past five years, with almost 105,250 people living without safe and secure housing. Also, 60% of them were under 35 and 16% were less than 12.

The Lord Mayor’s Fund will invest $3 million in SEFA to be disbursed (by way of loans) to selected affordable housing development projects throughout Victoria. The LMCF and SEFA said they will select applications that demonstrate a genuine added value for both the state’s homelessness and local communities.

‘SEFA, like LMCF, strives to achieve positive sustainable social impact,’ CEO of SEFA, Ben Gales said.

‘We are excited to be collaborating with LMCF, a mission aligned partner, to bring a new innovative approach to create affordable housing solutions and help address one of Victoria’s biggest social challenges’.

CEO of LMCF, Catherine Brown, said it ‘makes sense’ for a foundation to begin to align its investment strategy with its mission.

‘Through the Affordable Housing Loan Fund we want to maximise our impact on increasing the supply of affordable housing in Australia. This is one of the leading causes of homelessness. We look forward to innovative projects coming forward and other impact investors joining us in this work with SEFA,’ Brown said.

The application form for the fund can be accessed here, more information about SEFA can be found here or the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation here.