SGCH and Lighthouse Infrastructure unveil innovative funding model for key worker housing

  • Lighthouse Infrastructure will invest $59M in the acquisition of 85 apartments in Westmead, Western Sydney for medium to low-income key workers wishing to live close to Westmead, the Children’s Hospitals and Western Sydney and Sydney Universities.
  • The funding model is a scalable solution that has the power to make a significant impact addressing Australia’s chronic housing shortage.

SGCH, NSW’s largest community housing provider, has today announced that it is partnering with specialist infrastructure investment manager, Lighthouse Infrastructure (“Lighthouse”) to acquire key worker housing.   

The landmark deal will see Lighthouse provide $59M initial funding to SGCH Keys, a registered charity and subsidiary of SGCH Group. The funds will be used in the acquisition of 85 apartments in Westmead to be rented to key and essential workers.

SGCH will use its access to unique and efficient financing from Lighthouse to enable key workers to rent a new high-quality affordable home.

SGCH has brought together capital and capability to assist key workers who are struggling to find housing they can afford in Sydney. It is hoped that a number of the key workers who will call these properties home will be able to take advantage of rent savings over time to springboard to own a home of their own in the future.

The 85 properties purchased are valued at $59M and are within the Highline development completed this year by leading Sydney developer and builder, Deicorp.  Highline is located just 500m from Westmead Hospital and 100m from Western Sydney University campus. The tenancies will be managed by SGCH, with key worker tenants meeting the criteria of low to moderate income bands, and working in designated sectors such as emergency services, health and education.

This marks the first investment by SGCH into key worker affordable housing as distinct from social housing, which requires further government support. The deal leverages SGCH’s expertise and experience as managers of 7,000 social and affordable homes across Sydney.

This deal builds on Lighthouse’s success as an investor in the disability housing sector, having created Australia’s leading institutional portfolio of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) assets under the Federal Government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).  Following this latest investment, Lighthouse’s portfolio of social accommodation assets is valued in excess of $300M. Lighthouse has over $500M in total funds under management.

Speaking about the new partnership, Scott Langford, CEO of SGCH commented, “SGCH has the proven capability, expertise, and vision to partner with capital partners who have the appetite to be a part of a structural shift in the way that community housing is funded. This partnership with Lighthouse is an alignment of purpose that delivers scalable housing solutions for key workers.”

“A key part of our strategy is to grow the impact of community housing through financing solutions that attract private capital, both directly and through third parties. We partner with values aligned organisations who can help us to deliver more homes that will create social and economic opportunity for more Australians.”

Mitch King, Managing Director, Lighthouse Infrastructure commented, 

“We are delighted to have formed this partnership with SGCH, a leading player in the Community Housing market in Sydney. We have established an innovative, socially responsible, funding model with SGCH to invest in key worker housing in the Sydney market.

We are pleased to announce that the first transaction is at Westmead, where Lighthouse has provided capital to invest in key worker accommodation intended to address the shortage of affordable housing in Western Sydney. We have identified Westmead as an important hub requiring housing for key workers and their families, who provide essential services in health, medical research and education in that community.

This transaction is consistent with Lighthouse’s mandate from its institutional clients to deliver socially responsible investments. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role key workers play in providing much needed essential services to our society. This form of investment in real assets provides key workers access to rent affordable housing and live close to their workplace. 

The Lighthouse funding model will be scaled further with other community housing partners to fund key worker housing in other states for the institutional investor market.”