Positive outcomes from social investment scheme

social investment

An Auckland youth offending programme is hopeful ongoing funding will be available through a social bond investment.

Its success to date has generated optimism for similar future investments under a National-led government.

Since its inception six years ago, the Genesis Youth Trust-run programme has reduced youth offending notably.

Compared to a similar risk group, participants of the Genesis programme showed

  • a 30 percent lower re-offending rate,
  • decreased hospital admissions,
  • a reduced need for mental health services and
  • a 40 percent increase in tertiary education enrolments.

Despite these successes, the programme faced challenges.

Political changes and reduced departmental interest in social bonds had an ongoing effect on enrolments and referrals.

Where the Trust’s original goal was to recruit 1,000 young people to its programme, only 607 were ultimately enrolled.

One contributor to this shortfall was the COVID-19 pandemic, which lead to under-utilised funds.

Genesis Youth Trust, impacted by the funding shortfall, had to reduce its staff.

Chair of the ‘G-Fund’ Carl Bakker, author of a report about the social bond’s impact on Trust participants, says the report’s publication timing was crucial – coinciding with a National government coming into power.

Nicola Willis of the National Party has shown interest in such social investment schemes.

Dean Spicer, ANZ Sustainable Finance head, stressed the government’s role as a key social impact investor.

He noted that while funding is necessary, measurable outcomes are crucial for success.

Since the bond’s launch in 2017, there has been a shift towards responsible and impactful investments, reflecting growing public expectations, he says.

The report highlights a positive shift in investor attitudes towards social investments.

The National Party campaigned for the use of social bonds to tackle the emergency housing crisis, proposing a $50 million bond to help families transition from emergency housing to stable long-term homes.

This movement towards innovative social investment strategies represents a significant step in addressing social issues in New Zealand, highlighting a collaborative and outcome-focused approach, Spicer says.

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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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