A GROUND-breaking social business group that provides high-quality social housing has secured £3 million of investment from Big Issue Invest (BII), allowing early-stage investor Impact Ventures UK (IVUK) to successfully exit three years early.
Homes for Good (HFG) provides a solution to the lack of affordable, quality housing to people with limited housing choice in and around Glasgow, and has ambitious plans to double its portfolio and expand its model to other parts of the UK.
Since it was founded in 2013, HFG has not only pioneered the social lettings agency model within the private rented sector, but has built a strong reputation in the wider social and property investment sectors. It has attracted significant backing in excess of £12m to date from IVUK, Big Society Capital, Charity Bank and Social and Sustainable Capital.
BII, the social investment arm of The Big Issue, made the most recent equity and debt investment of just over £3m from its Social Enterprise Investment Fund II (SEIF II) in Homes for Good. This is BII’s largest investment from its SEIF II fund to date. It represents a landmark moment for HFG, with IVUK securing a successful exit, having backed the social business group in 2014. Adding to its significance, the deal was finalised in what has been a tumultuous and disruptive time for everyone during the pandemic.
HFG bridges the gap in affordable housing between the social and private rented sectors, providing letting agency services to landlords and a unique and flexible tenancy support for the people who live in its 500 homes. HFG’s investment arm finds and purchases dilapidated properties, almost 250 since 2014, which they bring to life through refurbishment and interior design. HFG then lets these homes to people in housing need, or to partner organisations working with people with more intensive support and emergency housing requirements.
BII has made a strong statement of intent, continuing to invest through COVID-19, to support social enterprises at a time when the need is often greatest, showing that BII is very much still open for business. BII is excited for both future collaboration opportunities with HFG and, in particular, the groundwork this lays for future funds being developed.
Dr. Susan Aktemel, Executive Director, Homes for Good Social Business Group, commented:
“This significant deal clearly shows that it is entirely possible to make strong financial returns from social investment whilst putting money to good use to change people’s lives for the better. I am really delighted to see BII, a perfect partner for us, become a shareholder and join the Homes for Good family. This has created a strong foundation for our future growth, and paves the way for further investment, as we embark on a £20million raise in the coming years to deliver our vision of creating high-quality, affordable homes for those who may otherwise struggle to access them.
“IVUK has for the last six years been a superb partner for Homes for Good – they saw the opportunity that I did early on in our journey, and have supported me and the Homes for Good team at every stage of our growth so far. Our shared values and vision of using investment capital to change lives has allowed us to deliver the success we have to date. It is a proud moment and a real pleasure to deliver an early exit to our first investor.
“We look forward to working with new investors as we grow Homes for Good and extend our reach further over the coming years. We have an exciting journey ahead and a lot more work still to do. Home is the foundation for all of our lives, and everyone deserves a place they feel safe in and love.”
Danyal Sattar, CEO at Big Issue Invest, said:
“We are delighted to support such a brilliant social enterprise as Homes for Good, with values that align so closely with ours. It is especially important that organisations such as Homes for Good are able to continue their excellent work at a time of great uncertainty for those with housing needs.
“This is our largest investment out of our Big Issue Invest Social Enterprise Fund II and shows the kind of backing we can give to our partners. We like to support entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial organisations and that is what we find in Homes for Good.”
Kevin Bone, Partner, IVUK added:
“Impact Ventures UK was created to back exceptional entrepreneurs building transformative businesses to address social and/or environmental issues. Susan and the Homes for Good team have clearly done that. Their impact goes far beyond the many hundreds of challenged people they have directly housed and supported, since the model has now become a lighthouse for others who are replicating it across the UK.
“In parallel, and crucially for the impact investing sector, this has been achieved whilst delivering market financial returns. It is this combination of impact depth and reach with strong financial returns that IVUK committed to its investors and we are incredibly grateful to Susan for allowing us to partner with her on the first stage of this incredible journey and for achieving those twin aims. As we hand over to BII, it is with great joy and anticipation at the achievements to come for Homes for Good.”