NGS Super spotlight - Aspire Social Impact Bond

23 Jan 2023 3 min read

NGS Super’s core purpose is to grow and protect our members’ retirement savings, and we have a duty to make all our investment decisions in the best financial interests of our members. But when we have the opportunity to make investments that meet this high standard and have a positive impact, we consider that a win-win.

The Aspire Social Impact Bond is a great example of a sound investment that has also been making a real difference to the lives of people experiencing homelessness, a growing issue for our society.

The bond funds an innovative, holistic 3-year program called Aspire, which has to date provided support for 575 adults experiencing homelessness. Delivered by Hutt St Centre, in partnership with the South Australian Government, this program offers stable accommodation under the ‘housing first’ intervention model, plus job readiness training, pathways to employment and life skills development. Participants also receive intensive case management to help address their multiple and complex needs before and after they are found housing, helping them to make long-term changes to improve their lives.

An evaluation of the program by the UWA Centre for Social Impact and Flinders University found that it produces ‘positive, often life-changing outcomes for most participants’, ‘supporting participants to exit homelessness, avoid criminal activity, address problematic drug and alcohol use, and effectively manage their physical and mental health issues’.

In the words of two participants:

Before Aspire, I was out of control and it would have got worse ... I don’t know whether I would have made it through ... once I realised the benefits, it really pushed me along and I think I’ve come a long way because of Aspire ... it’s the reason I’ve got my dog and my house and my car and life is good. (p 107 of evaluation)

What I needed, that’s what they would try and help me with. They wouldn’t say okay, you’ve gotta do this, this, this and this ... don’t tell me what to do. But they would say ‘how can we best help you?’ and that was great. (p 114 of evaluation)

For the 575 individuals who have taken part in the Aspire program, hospitalisations are 32% lower than the baseline, convictions are lower by 28% and the use of crisis accommodation 68% lower.1 As well as changing the lives of participants, these avoided services generated over $25 million in captured and projected future savings to the SA government in the 5 years to June 2022.2

As an investor in the Aspire Social Impact Bond, NGS Super expects to generate an internal rate of return of 14% per annum,3 representing a strong return for both members and the community.

Sustainable Development Goal 1: Affordable and clean energy Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good health and well-being
End poverty in all its forms everywhere Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth Sustainable Development Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all Reduce inequality within and among countries

1 Aspire Social Impact Bond Annual Investor Report, December 2022, p 12.
2 Above, p 15.
3 Based on actual and projected cashflows.
Image: the garden at Hutt St Centre.

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