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HESTA backs Nightingale Village project

Image: Kennedy Nolan's 9 Duckett St, Brunswick at Nightingale Village

Industry superannuation fund dedicated to the health and community services sectors, HESTA, has committed $20 million to the Nightingale Village sustainable housing project in Melbourne.

HESTA was attracted to the affordability component of the Nightingale housing model, which caps profits at 15 per cent to keep apartment prices down. The new financing will hopefully help the model keep scaling up.

More than 80 per cent of the super fund’s members are women working in the health and community services sector, so it was important that 20 per cent of the apartments in the Brunswick project were allocated to nurses, aged care workers and other key workers.

A further 20 were pre-sold to community housing providers to be rented out at affordable rates. The rest have gone to the general public, most of whom were first home-buyers.

Having a home is a fundamental element of financial security and societal connection, said HESTA chief executive officer Debby Blakey.

“The lack of affordable homes close to major infrastructure is a huge issue for the community and our members,” said Blakey.

The financing will be provided alongside another social impact fund, the SVA managed Diversified Impact Fund.

SVA Executive Director, Impact Investing Michael Lynch said this investment was a great example of how institutional investment can have a positive impact on the broader Australian community by making a meaningful contribution to the social and affordable housing market.

The funding follows a $300 million commitment from a range of social finance organisations in early 2018, including Social Enterprise Finance Australia (SEFA), National Australia Bank, and investment consultant Brightlight.

The village project in Brunswick is the fourth development built to the much-lauded Breathe Architecture Nightingale model for designing and building residential buildings that are environmentally, socially and financially sustainable.

Each apartment block has been designed by different architects, with all seven working in close collaboration via a masterplan for the village.

The village will have a combined solar PV array, embedded network, grey water system, water sensitive urban design, central heat pump / hot water and be designed to mitigate the urban heat island effect.

Along with a handful of projects in Melbourne, there are also Nightingale projects planned for regional areas, including Ballarat and Bendigo.

Nightingale Housing is revolutionising the way people live together, said Nightingale Housing managing director Jeremy McLeod.

“Nightingale is a triple-bottom-line housing model; it’s designed to deliver housing at cost that is affordable, sustainable and delivers a sense of community.”

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