University of Edinburgh invests £1m to tackle homelessness

University of Edinburgh invests £1m to tackle homelessness

The University of Edinburgh has announced it is investing a further £1 million in charities and social enterprises which support people at risk of homelessness.

The money will be invested through social investor, Social and Sustainable Capital’s Social and Sustainable Housing Fund II (SASH II).

SASH II is a socially positive investment fund that gives investors the opportunity to create societal benefits alongside a traditional financial return.

The fund works by providing loans to charities and organisations to finance the purchase of properties for social housing and grow their own portfolio – something that isn’t always possible without larger financial backing.

SASH II aims to achieve £125m in investments which would enable at least 30 organisations to provide homes for 10,000 people over the fund’s lifetime.

This new investment builds on the success of the University’s previous £1m investment in Social and Sustainable Capital’s first social housing fund, SASH I.

SASH I launched in 2019 and has supported 20 social impact organisations across the UK.

Projects to receive loans from the fund included Simon Community Scotland, a charity which helps people at risk of homelessness in Edinburgh.

Using a £5m loan from SASH I, Simon Community Scotland purchased 15 properties across Edinburgh, providing affordable accommodation for up to 30 vulnerable adults at risk of homelessness.

Dave Gorman, director of social responsibility and sustainability at the University of Edinburgh, said: “As values-driven institutions with commitments to social and civic responsibility, universities can use their finances to address social issues, whilst generating a return on investment.

“That has been the mission of our Social Investment Fund. We are delighted to support SASH II, having seen the positive impact that affordable housing can bring to vulnerable people here in our city and across Scotland.”

Mark Bickford, CEO of Social and Sustainable Capital, said: “We are looking forward to building on the success of SASH I with fantastic, people-first organisations – all delivering significant social impact.

“We’re pleased to receive further investment from the University of Edinburgh, which demonstrates the potential of universities as social impact investors.”

This investment aligns with the university’s Social Enterprise and Social Investment Strategy, which committed to investing £8m in socially positive funds. The university has already invested £7 million in this way. Alongside SASH I and II, other groups to have received funding include Big Issue Invest, and student-run socially responsible investment fund Prosper Social Finance.

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