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Common Ground Against Homelessness

Against Homelessness

Estate Agency can sometimes through up negative connotations, but VMH SOLICITORS is a small firm with a big heart, and we want to help those who can’t easily call a place home. Over the years we’ve worked with homelessness charities including Social Bite and Rowan Alba, helping to raise funds and awareness of this important and often forgotten cause. From October 2023 we will be supporting Common Ground Against Homelessness.

In support of Common Ground Against Homelessness (CGAH), we are now donating £5 from every completed purchase transaction to CGAH. To understand more about the charity and how our donations help, we caught up with Helen Carlin and Jonathan Gould of CGAH.

When was the charity founded, and how did this come about?

Common Ground Against Homelessness established in March 2020.

It was largely borne out of frustration. Helen Carlin set up and ran a charity called Rowan Alba for 25 years. It “specialises” in accommodating formerly homeless people with long term issues, who are unlikely to be able to live independently. The first one is in Thorntree Street, Leith.  Although the model is very successful, it proved impossible to replicate, as suitable accommodation was impossible to buy or rent in Edinburgh. Helen and Tom set up Common Ground Against Homelessness, and invested in it, as did 205 other people. A four-bed house was transformed into nine studio flats using the investment, about £700,000 in all.  The first tenants moved in September 2022 to Thorntree Mill.

Thorntree Mill Launch Party

How big is the problem, what do you do & what’s your mission?

In Edinburgh alone, there are approximately 5,000 homeless households. The vast majority of these people just need affordable accommodation. A small percentage, though, will be what you could call repeat homeless.  Our mission is to raise the funds, to transform buildings into suitable homes for life for long term homeless people. There is currently a waiting list of 47 men for Thorntree Mill.

Who do you help?

We raise investment and build suitable accommodation to allow folk a place to live, for life. Our charity partner provides to support. It’s a win win for the charity and the tenants who end up living there.

Where are you based and how far do you reach?

We are based in Edinburgh, and are currently in the final stages of planning our next share offer, which will see us buy a hotel, to be converted into 12 homes for life: this time for women.  We would however, like to look beyond Edinburgh, as this problem exists in every major city in Scotland.

How will our clients’ donations help?

Your donations will help to provide stability, safety and a lifelong home to some of the most vulnerable people in society. Common Ground Against Homelessness’ mission is to purchase and renovate buildings in Edinburgh, then work in partnership with local charities such as Rowan Alba to deliver life-saving services

What else can people do, asides from donating money?

It would be great if people could spread the word about us, on social media and the like.

Helen Carlin

More information…

Whether you’re ready to start investing in the future of vital charities or not, join Common Ground’s mailing list so that you can keep up to date with the changing landscape of homelessness in Scotland.
Make a donation or find out more about investing and shares in Common Ground Against Homelessness.