Homes for Good is Scotland's first lettings agency for people on benefits. They are using social investment to address the housing crisis.
Susan Aktemel launched Scotland’s first lettings agency for people on benefits. She explains how she’s been able to use social investment to address the housing crisis.
The number of people in Scotland waiting for social housing according to government statistics in 2013 was 185,000. As the population grows this will only get worse and more people will face homelessness. Having a decent home to live in is so much more than a roof over your head. It’s a source of dignity, a space to raise a family, a necessary foundation for a happy, productive life. Some people face a long, hard search for a place to call home. They might be forced to accept homes that are cramped, draughty and even mouldy. They might find nowhere at all. And then there’s also the difficulty of landlords who avoid renting to people on benefits or low incomes.
We want to build affordable good quality homes. We also want to rebuild the trust between private sector landlords and tenants by laying the foundations for successful tenancies. We set up Homes for Good Investments, as a joint venture with social investor Impact Ventures UK (IVUK), to acquire and refurbish run-down properties that will be rented to people on low incomes or benefits.
With the support of a loan from Charity Bank and investment from IVUK we aim to make 120 properties available, which we anticipate will benefit 480 people in Scotland over the next eight years.
We also run Homes for Good CIC (Community Interest Company), a lettings agency that rents homes to people on social housing waiting lists and provides budgeting advice, financial planning and employability assistance to help establish longlasting tenancies. In many cases this is the first time people have had a place that they can call home, and their smiles and sometimes tears are testament to why everyone should have access to an affordable good quality home.
"We aim to make 120 properties available, which we anticipate will benefit 480 people in Scotland over the next 8 years."
- Susan Aktemel, director, Homes for Good