The community interest company, which provides accommodation for vulnerable people, has appointed Chris Roberts to identify opportunities to grow its portfolio to 10,000 bedrooms by the end of 2023.
Wolverhampton-based Lotus Sanctuary currently has a portfolio of 1,000 beds, but hopes to leverage £250m from private investors to increase this figure tenfold over the next two and a half years.
“We have very ambitious expansion targets that we want to hit as soon as possible, and private investors and property funds will play a key role in making this happen,” explained Roberts.
Prior to joining Lotus, Roberts spent five years at Manchester-based property management firm Rendall & Rittner as business development manager.
As Lotus’ acquisitions and investment manager, he will be responsible for building relationships with multi-national property funds, buy-to-let investors and social investment firms, to leverage funding to lease a mixture of apartment blocks and smaller buildings across the country, including the North West.
Lotus typically signs 20-year leases on accommodation and pays rent to the landlords, providing them with a “guaranteed income”, according to Roberts.
Local authorities then pay Lotus to provide beds and support to homeless people, ex-offenders, and victims of domestic violence, offsetting the company’s costs.
“Educating investors will be key, as the sector is still relatively new to the [Lotus concept],” Roberts added.
“In essence, we are the safest investment they can make, we even look after day-to-day management and ensure buildings are being well looked after and maintained.”
As well as providing accommodation, Lotus offers wraparound support to residents, providing a “bespoke pathway to independence”.
Gurpaal Singh Judge, chief executive of Lotus Sanctuary, said: “We have a real opportunity to deliver a new solution to the homeless situation in England and local authorities are increasingly looking to engage with us as they are seeing the benefit of our model.”