Scottish National Investment Bank invests £15m to help tackle homelessness

Scottish National Investment Bank invests £15m to help tackle homelessness

Lorraine McGrath, Benjamin Rick and Susan Campbell

Charities and third sector organisations working with some of the most vulnerable people in the community can now access a multi-million-pound fund backed by the Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB).

Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) provides finance for improving lives by backing organisations rooted in their local communities, delivering support where it is needed most.

The Bank has committed £15 million to SASC’s second housing fund, Social and Sustainable Housing (SASH) II. It will enable charities to purchase properties and manage their own housing stock - specifically tackling homelessness.

Lorraine McGrath, CEO of Simon Community Scotland, who accessed SASC’s first fund, said: “Like all organisations working with people experiencing poverty, we are facing massive challenges.

“We expect to support around 8,000 people this year, double the number of just a few years ago. The fact the Bank are stepping into this space, to do good with money, has enormous benefits.

“The SASC model provides much greater opportunity for charities and voluntary organisations to access funds and use them to make the greatest impact possible. Many of the people we support have experienced a lot of trauma in their lives, and that affects their ability to access mainstream support.

“The fund offered us for the first time the opportunity to provide homes for people. It allows us to be a different type of landlord, as our experience allows us to really understand where people have come from, their circumstances and the type of home they need.”

The SASH II fund will invest across the UK, with the Bank’s £15m investment unlocking at least £20m of loans to organisations purchasing homes in Scotland. The fund has reached its first close at £35m and is now targeting a total size of £125m.

The fund’s products allow organisations to buy properties which they would otherwise not be able to attain, build their financial strength, and enable them to provide high quality services to their tenants.

Benjamin Rick, co-founder and chief executive officer, Social and Sustainable Capital, added: “The key to what we do is working with organisations that are trusted in their local areas to deliver key services.

“Typically, this means providing housing and support for people who are facing a significant issue in their lives, a woman and her children fleeing domestic violence or a child exiting the care system for example.

“We are incredibly excited about having the Bank’s support, our missions-based approaches are very closely aligned.

“Increasingly we see our investor base asking more and more about impact, and how the products we offer complement the desire to generate financial returns and create social good.”

The investment aligns with the Bank’s place mission, which aims to build communities and tackle inequality. SASC conduct thorough diligence process on borrowers, including assessing their ability to deliver services and the organisations track record.

Susan Campbell, Scottish National Investment Bank, director, commented: “Like the Bank, Social and Sustainable Capital is an impact investor, this fund has been intentionally designed in a way that will deliver economic, social and environment change through the work that it does.

“The Bank will work with the fund and our fellow investors to really understand and capture those impacts and how they benefit the people of Scotland.”

The fund also works with its borrowers to improve the energy efficiency of its properties, helping the transition to net zero and alleviating fuel poverty for tenant

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