Noble Tree’s Programme is targeted at the acquisition and development of specialised schemes for this unique sector within a global programme, providing essential supported hosuing in a sector where there is an estimated shortfall in supply of over 100,000 units
Defined by the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) as a place “Where people live in their own home and receive care and / or support in order to promote their independence and where there is a genuine separation between the care and / or support and the accommodation provider.”
The Noble Tree proposal is targeted at the acquisition and development of specialised schemes for this unique sector within a global programme, providing homes in a sector where there is an estimated shortfall in supply of over 100,000 units and an anticipated future need of approximately 138,000 additional homes over the next 15 years, according to internal research carried out by the Directors.
The financial projections of the programme allow for the acquisition and development of 20 units per month with the development phase of each scheme being completed over a 12 week period. Additional developers will be introduced if required to speed up the development process.
The programme consists of providing suitable accommodation for people with support needs through:
- Identifying sites in selected demand areas in conjunction with partner specialist Service Providers (“SP”).
- Contract to acquire sites subject to planning approval.
- Acquiring the properties when the SP has confirmed the sites meet their requirements and have entered into pre- agreements.
- Developing the units with partner development companies.
- The SP nominating suitable tenants to the available units and to any subsequent void property.
- Partner RP’s housing the tenants through a pre-agreed 25-year lease arrangement.
About Supported Housing Programmes
The provision of quality homes for people with support needs in terms of learning disability, physical and/or mental impairment is seen as a particular concern by both local and national government. There is a chronic shortage of suitably supported Local Authority accommodation.1 This has resulted in adults with support needs:
- Remaining in unsuitable residential institutions or with elderly parents and carers;
- Or (faced with limited choice) to move into accommodation remote from friends and family; and
- Unable to develop skills and confidence to sustain an independent existence and contribution to their communities.2
Against this background, a programme for the delivery of appropriate housing for people with such support needs has been developed as outlined in this proposal document. The intention is to fund such a programme by a combination of short-term interim development finance to be refinanced by long-term debt (25 years) from long-term investors.
The underlying regulatory framework that governs the provision of means for tenants to pay rent and care costs (Housing Benefit, Disability Allowance and Mobility Allowance) means that the long-term financing is deemed to be highly correlated to UK Government risk.
The REIT will enter into partnerships, underpinned by contractual arrangements, with RP’s and IHL in line with locality and the partners working for that programme for the purpose of undertaking and managing the Supported Needs Housing Programme. All the programme partners have agreed the structure of the joint venture in advance.
The programme envisages that Sites (close to public amenities and tenant families/support network) will comprise vacant/unoccupied public houses or other commercial/retail premises in each case suitable for conversion to Units for the purpose under consideration. The Development Company has commenced the process of Site identification and a pipeline of suitable properties has been identified to facilitate delivery of at least, the first 10 Sites. This process is on-going in preparation for delivery of subsequent Sites.
The suitability of each Site is determined by an assessment and screening process undertaken by the Development Company in collaboration with the Registered Provider (and any associated housing association), Service Provider and the Local Authority prior to commencement of design, formal Local Authority planning and any other approval processes, and commencement of conversion activity.
Each Site will require at least one permanent employee of the Service Provider responsible as support worker for day-to-day management and tenant support services. The number of support workers per Site will depend upon the number of Units and nature of tenant needs at a particular Site. This will determine the appropriate support worker/tenant ratio required. As a consequence, at least one unit per Site is envisaged to be non-income generating.
A broad national coverage of Site locations is anticipated. Individual Site conversion programmes are expected to comprise a period of 3 months on average and, as required, Site conversion activity will be undertaken in parallel during a scheme programme.
Development & Financing Approach
Knightsbridge Development Limited (KDL) has been initially selected to deliver the start of the Supported Needs Housing Programme because of their experience and track record in delivering similar properties over recent years. As the programme picks up pace, it may be necessary to bring in additional contractor / developers to work alongside KDL. Their role is planned to be to work alongside the Company and IHL to identify and recommend for acquisition suitable properties and sites, converting properties into a number of units to provide self-contained, single-occupancy accommodation for people with support needs.
It is intended that the REIT will be responsible for overseeing the identification, acquisition, development, planning, design, conversion, fit out and completion. The completed homes are aimed to be leased to a housing association or housing management provider, which will be responsible for housing management services and site repairs and maintenance. The housing management provider may perform such function independently or jointly in association with a partner Registered Provider.
A Service Provider will be responsible for liaison with the Local Authorities and the Registered Provider to arrange for the placement of suitable tenants and for the provision of site management and tenant support services through support worker representation at each site. Tenant rents due to the Registered Provider and fees in respect of site management and tenant support services due to the Services Provider will be funded from relevant housing benefits and social services allowances made available by the Local Authority to support independent living requirements of individuals with support needs. For the most part, these funds will be paid directly by the Local Authority to the Registered Provider and the Service Provider as appropriate.
A number of sites (a Scheme) will be developed over a relatively short period of time using the long term finance.