Dedicated impact investment fund manager, Conscious Investment Management (CIM) has announced first close on its $200 million CIM Social Housing Fund 2 (CIMSHF2), having secured over $50 million from various family offices and foundations. 

The fund aims to deliver market-rate financial returns while increasing the supply of social and affordable housing in Australia by working in partnership with the community housing sector.

Among the early investors, the Paul Ramsay Foundation has made a significant cornerstone commitment, continuing its support of CIM’s previous social and affordable housing and Specialist Disability Accommodation funds.

Other investors include several family office and foundation clients of Australian Impact Investments, including the Siddle Family Foundation and Snow Foundation. 

A sustained commitment to social and affordable housing

Following its first social housing fund, launched in 2021 to invest in Australia’s first large-scale, privately-funded social and affordable housing transaction, CIMSHF2, represents a sustained commitment to investing in social and affordable housing in Australia. 

The first fund notably partook in a pioneering $130 million investment alongside the Victorian Government and community housing association HousingFirst. This new fund aims to further prove the financial viability and deep impact of social and affordable housing as an asset class, encouraging institutional-scale investment.

CIM’s involvement in the sector extends to collaborations with Community Housing Providers for multiple projects in Sydney and Melbourne, including partnerships with the NSW Government, Bridge Housing, and Melbourne City Mission. These initiatives focus on providing housing for vulnerable groups, such as young people at risk.

CIM chief investment officer Matthew Tominc said: “Since we financed social and affordable housing at scale in Victoria in 2021, assets financed by CIM’s funds have provided housing to over 400 tenants. This comes with substantial lessons learned and experience. 

“As governments increasingly look to partner with private capital in this space, we hope to be an early scale mover, using these learnings and our partnerships with the community housing sector to show models of best practice for how private capital can play a role in this emerging sector.”

John White joins CIM

CIM also announced that John White — a recognised leader in the property sector and a vocal advocate for social and affordable housing in Australia — will join the company as a special advisor, focusing on CIMSHF2. CIM has worked closely with White for several years in his role as a director of HousingFirst, one of its existing housing partners. He was also previously a senior managing director at US$51 billion ($77 billion) global real estate investor Heitman.

Tominc lauded White’s contribution to HousingFirst and expressed optimism about their collaboration in scaling the social and affordable housing sector. CIM aims to leverage White’s experience to enhance their impact in providing housing solutions for those in need in Australia.

CIMSHF2 is currently open for investment. The Fund is a 12-year closed end, capital call vehicle with a target size of $200 million. CIM is targeting a second close by the end of March.

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