Scotland’s first social enterprise lettings agency receives £2.4 million from the National Lottery to expand UK-wide

September 16, 2019

An award-winning Scottish property management social enterprise, which helps vulnerable housing tenants access quality housing, has been awarded £2.4 million in National Lottery funding to roll out its successful model across the UK.

Homes for Good (HFG) specialises in supporting people with limited housing choices including those who are homeless, on benefits or low incomes. The social enterprise adopts a holistic approach to supporting tenants: ranging from help with benefits claims, financial management and cooking, to applying for education and getting mental health support.

The award from The National Lottery Community Fund – which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest funder of community activity in the UK – will enable Homes for Good to expand and enhance the support it provides to its tenants and to help other UK organisations to develop a similar model.

The model is driven by social entrepreneur Susan Aktemel, based on her experience as a customer of private rental agencies, and her knowledge of the barriers vulnerable and low-income tenants face in the private rental market. Homes for Good embrace lived experience within their organisation, with over 50% of their staff having previously experienced poor conditions in privately rented homes. In addition, the successful support model was co-produced with tenants who have direct experience of insecure and low-quality rental housing.

Homes for Good founding director Susan Aktemel said:

We realise a safe, secure home is fundamental to people’s lives and are delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised the wider potential of our approach, which focuses on creating high-quality, affordable homes for tenants and sound investments for landlords – a win-win situation. This funding will allow us to support even more tenants both in Scotland and throughout the UK.

Homes for Good programme director Karen Leigh Anderson said:

We aim to work in partnership with a number of other organisations across the UK to replicate our tried and tested social letting and tenancy support model. The National Lottery funding will enable us to share our learning and provide ongoing support, including hosting study visits, coaching and mentoring.

John Knights, Senior Head of UK Portfolio at The National Lottery Community Fund said:

Homes for Good has developed a successful model to support vulnerable tenants across Scotland based on the insights of those tenants’ lived experience and by putting people in the lead. Now, thanks to National Lottery players, more people who are in need of a home across the UK will be able to access quality, secure housing.

Founded in 2013, the Glasgow-based organisation is run as a social enterprise - placing ethics, social change and tenants’ wellbeing at the centre of its business model, on an equal footing with generating income.

The HFG group has grown year on year, with around 500 properties currently under management, and works with 130 landlords and 800 tenants in and around Glasgow and the West of Scotland. HFG has raised around £12 million investment to create its own portfolio of high-quality homes for people in housing need and is currently expanding its in-house repairs and maintenance business to ensure greater quality and strengthens their long-term sustainability.

HFG works with a wide range of partner agencies including Ypeople, Simon Community, Glasgow City Mission and the Wise Group.