Edinburgh Local

University contributes £1m into social investment fund to tackle homelessness in Edinburgh 

The University of Edinburgh has partly funded a £5m investment into Simon Community Scotland, an award-winning charity that helps people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Central Scotland. 

Simon Community
Simon Community

The charity has received £5m of social investment from Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC), from its Social and Sustainable Housing fund (SASH) to purchase homes to help vulnerable people move away from homelessness. 

Using the SASH investment, which was partly funded by a £1 million commitment from the University, the charity will expand its services and buy properties that will become permanent homes for up to 30 tenants, helping them transition from homelessness towards employment and a new life.  

The University is championing the SASH fund to support organisations in Edinburgh as part of its ‘Social and Civic Responsibility Plan’ and in keeping with its track record of responsible investment locally to benefit society. 

The University’s vision is to be recognised as the leading UK university for social enterprise and investments by the academic year 2023-24 and to date, it has allocated £8m to invest in socially positive activities.  


We know that for homeless people in our society, specific service needs are not being met and there is a serious short-fall of available housing. We hope this initiative will be a blueprint for effectively lifting people out of homelessness for the long-term. Social and civic responsibility is a key focus for the University as described in our ‘Strategy 2030’, and so we’re delighted to be committing £1m to SASC to support people experiencing homelessness in Scotland.

Lesley McAra, Assistant Principal: Community Relations at the University


Simon Community supports people in Edinburgh through its Streetwork service. Streetwork delivers a range of help and support including responding to people in crisis via a 24-hour helpline, providing services at their Holyrood Hub and delivering outreach on the capital's streets.  

Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive, Simon Community Scotland said, “Edinburgh has a major housing shortage, with a lack of affordable accommodation and social housing options. Around 500 people are currently living in temporary accommodation and each year, demand for homes exceeds the available properties. 

  “Our mission is to end rough sleeping and provide solutions for the many who are currently spending too long in temporary accommodation. The loan from SASC will be transformative for them. Over the next 18 months, we will purchase properties that will help people build new lives in high-quality, affordable tenancies, with access to the support they need.” 

“Thanks to SASC we will increase the impact for people we support. If the model is successful, we hope to be an exemplar for other charities involved in housing to access social investment too.” 

Ben Rick, CEO, SASC said, “For almost 55 years, Simon Community Scotland has been supporting people experiencing homelessness in Scotland. Providing stable, permanent homes is the most tangible solution they can provide. Our investment will enable them to do this, and become more financially sustainable, increase their impact and reduce the number of homeless people in the city.”  


This is our fourth investment in Scotland, and we are pleased The University of Edinburgh is supporting us. We want to thank them for their investment in the SASH fund.

Ben Rick, CEO, SASC


More information  

Social and Civic Responsibility Plan 

Simon Community 

Centre for Homelessness and Inclusion Health