By Stuart Sweeney, Investment Director
Since SASH raised money from the University of Edinburgh endowment fund, I have been focused on finding high impact charities, north of the border, that can benefit from our ten-year loans. These loans will allow the charities to buy houses for their vulnerable clients.
I visited the Scottish Central Belt a few days ago, to meet several potential borrowers from SASH. In Dundee, I spent time with a highly impressive charity that has evolved over time from an HIV-intravenous drug user support charity to one focused on ex-offenders leaving incarceration with comparable drug problems.
Then, in Fife, I was delighted to speak to an audience of regional charities and sponsors-activists working in the empty homes space in Scotland. In Edinburgh and Glasgow, I spent time with a number of housing focused charities offering intensive support services within the Scottish capital. The level of communication and cooperation between these charities is inspiring. They are all responding to the Scottish government’s guarantee of the right of homeless people to have a roof over their heads. This is a guarantee that currently does not exist in England.
Finally, I spent time with the housing department at the Scottish Government, to discuss policy matters and the sector in general. The Scottish Government has highlighted housing as a priority area, hence the housing guarantee. But they have struggled to identify housing focused social investment funds that can provide affordable loans to Scottish charities. They view SASH as innovative and intriguing in that context. We will work hard to feed observations on Scottish housing needs into these senior civil servants.
Overall, a busy but inspiring visit to the most densely populated region of Scotland, where SASH should be able to deliver very effective support.
Next month, our CEO, Ben, is in Edinburgh where he is on a panel at a side meeting at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Investment Conference 2020. Throughout this year, SASC will continue to make connections and invest into outstanding charities across the country.