Big Issue Invest boosts innovative housing enterprise with £400,000

UK social lender Big Issue Invest has pumped £400,000 into Suffolk-based Housing Action Limited, in a move that will bring empty homes into use while providing housing and support to vulnerable local people.

Housing Action leases properties from landlords in the private sector and sub-lets them to individuals and families. Tenants typically have acute housing needs and/or a history of homelessness.

Established as a charity in 1987, Housing Action was reliant on grant funding. As grants have become less available, Housing Action developed a social enterprise model to accommodate its plans to expand as a long-term sustainable business.

The Big Issue Invest (BII) agreement is a £400,000 loan with a nine-year repayment plan.

Big Issue Invest CEO Nigel Kershaw said: “Housing Action makes a huge impact on housing the most vulnerable in society. It has a strong track record of successful tenancies, and landlords receive guaranteed rents and assurances over damage and voids.

“I am particularly delighted to be investing in this organisation. Our investment in Housing Action will help the organisation grow further, house and support more people, create more jobs and be a larger and sustainable enterprise.”

Jim Overbury, CEO, Housing Action Limited, said: “The BII loan has not only given us the support we need to enable us to grow, but also reconfirmed to us that this model does work. We hope that with this investment we can house an additional 1,000 households and provide skills and work opportunities to tenants. We also hope that one in five of the properties we house people in will bring empty homes back into use.

“Our business model makes sense. Landlords get guaranteed rents with excellent property management and we provide not only a home, but also support for vulnerable local people in urgent need of a home.”

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