WHAG, a provider of housing and support services to homeless women, and men and women experiencing and fleeing domestic abuse, has received its first social investment loan of £2.15 million from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC).

WHAG was set up as Rochdale Women’s Housing Aid Group in 1981, to provide affordable supported accommodation to homeless women aged 16-65. It was the first organisation in Rochdale to support this group of people. Over time their work has expanded to include domestic abuse services for women and men and support for Young Parents. They now offer housing and support services in Rochdale, Halton and Cheshire West. Their support work covers personal safety, budgeting, training, employment, social skills and community participation and enhances people’s confidence level, social and life skills so they can move back to independent living. The loan from SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing (SASH) fund will be used to purchase 17 one, two and three bedroom flats and houses in the four areas they operate, to provide short-term accommodation for up to 17 clients, and their families

WHAG currently manages a property portfolio of 63 units, of which one is owned and the rest rented from registered providers or private landlords. With the properties financed by the SASH loan they expect to increase their portfolio to 80 units by March 2023.

Kirsty Rhodes, CEO at WHAG said, “We’re really excited to take on social investment for the first time as it’s enabling us to purchase our own properties and not be so reliant on renting properties, this gives our clients more options of locations

“Owning properties is a way for our organisation to become more financially sustainable in the future and to be able to offer people a better choice of accommodation, in safer and nicer neighbourhoods close to transport and other essential amenities. The SASH loan was attractive because of the additional help and support we receive from SASC, as well as the risk profile which we felt was a safer option for us as a charity than borrowing from a bank. This loan will give us financial stability and the means to offer a far better service, more accommodation choices and expand our services, something we simply wouldn’t have been able to do without it.”

Ben Rick, Co-Founder and CEO of SASC said,
“This is our first investment of 2022 from SASH. WHAG will use the SASH-funded properties, together with the services they provide to clients to deliver high quality temporary accommodation, support and information to people experiencing or fleeing domestic abuse who are vulnerable or in housing need. In addition, they will also support clients to take responsibility for planning, problem solving and decision making to encourage independence and their learning and development.  The loan is enhancing and strengthening WHAG’s financial position which is already projecting surpluses over the next few years.”

For more information on WHAG visit: www.whag.info

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