‘Sanctuary Bond’ launched to house UK’s hidden homeless

A social investment scheme has launched a new loan stock offer designed to raise emergency funds to combat the UK’s escalating homelessness problem by providing emergency accommodation to those in urgent need.

Equfund has set out to raise up to £5 million from the British public with its ‘Sanctuary Bond’ to purchase and renovate properties to let to those known as hidden homeless. Often families unexpectedly evicted from their rented properties, and single people, many with young children fleeing domestic violence, the hidden homeless are people who aren’t necessarily sleeping rough but do not have a permanent residence.

Equfund said it was compelled to act on the problem of homelessness because of the growing failure within the housing market to supply decent, affordable homes for people who have insufficient financial resources to meet rental obligations.

In a survey commissioned to mark today’s World Homeless Day, Equfund found that most Scots underestimate the scale and seriousness of homelessness and many are quite vulnerable to becoming homeless themselves.

The survey revealed:

  • More than half of people (56%) in Scotland would not have the necessary financial resources to move into a new place if they lost their home unexpectedly
  • 1/4 (25%) of people in Scotland fear becoming homeless
  • 40% of people in Scotland would be 6 months or less away from being homeless if they lost their job and could not find another
  • 1 in 8 people in Scotland have experienced homelessness in their life
  • 1 in 10 people in Scotland say worrying about losing their home has had a negative effect on their mental health
  • 1 in 8 people in Scotland have experienced a point where their rent or mortgage is more than they can afford

Equfund has a proven track record of helping the UK’s homeless get back on their feet. Since being founded in 2002 it has found homes for thousands of people through investments of over £33m. Previously Equfund’s focus has been buying and refurbishing long-term empty properties to provide affordable rental accommodation for those in need, however, the Sanctuary Bond signals a new priority to help those with a more urgent need for accommodation.

Andrew Mahon, director of Equfund, said: “A home to call your own has untold benefits to a person’s mental health, dignity and general wellbeing. Far too many people in the UK are stuck in a cycle of homelessness for reasons they have little control over and finding a new place to rent usually proves unduly expensive.

“High rents and years of austerity have worsened the housing crisis and increased the number of the homeless, especially the hidden homeless who are often outside the public consciousness of the crisis.

“We have many tenants who have come to us having been rejected by other landlords, including victims of domestic violence and a mother who was living on her grandmother’s sofa for weeks while she found suitable accommodation for her and her child.

“At Equfund, we are there for those down on their luck, those who just need a little help, those who need a safe place to rebuild their lives, those who through no fault of theirs found themselves evicted, without a roof over their heads. We believe in decent, affordable housing for all, and with this Sanctuary Bond, we call on everyone similarly minded to join us in stopping the scourge of homelessness.”

The minimum investment in the Sanctuary Bond is £1,000 with a maximum of £250,000. To invest in the Sanctuary Bond, visit here.

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