Homes for Good, a letting agency with a difference, wins prestigious global award!

An innovative organisation in Glasgow which has transformed empty homes in the city and housed 1,000 people on low incomes into high-quality homes has won a prestigious Gold World Habitat Award.

Homes For Good is a letting agency with a difference – it buys neglected homes and renovates them to a high standard, then lets them to people on low incomes. It has helped hundreds of people on low incomes or at immediate risk of homelessness live somewhere which is affordable to them and high quality.

The World Habitat Awards, which are organised by World Habitat in partnership with UN-Habitat, are the world’s leading housing awards, which recognise and highlight innovative, outstanding and revolutionary housing ideas, projects and programmes from across the world.

As a result of winning the Gold award, Homes For Good will receive £10,000 and the opportunity to share their knowledge of the sector and inspire others to follow suit at an international event, which will be organised alongside World Habitat.

Homes For Good was founded in 2013, to improve conditions in the private rented sector for tenants and landlords and to support, people on low incomes to access quality homes in the private rental sector.

It has since raised £20 million in social investment and has bought and developed more than 330 homes. It also manages a further 220 homes, working with 130 landlords and 800 tenants overall, the creation of HFG housing portfolio was inspired through its own research which showed that just 3% of approximately 500 two-bedroom properties on the market at the time were both affordable and accessible to people on benefits – and those that were available were in extremely poor condition.

In addition to homes being renovated, Homes For Good also offers the unique touch of an interior designer working with tenants to create a home they feel proud to live in.

Homes For Good also engages with tenants on issues wider than housing, and includes a programme of activities to improve wellbeing, reduce isolation and the opportunity to develop new skills.

Two residents who have benefited from Homes For Good are Ina and her eleven-year-old son Svet, who escaped Ukraine after Russia’s invasion of the country. Ina and her husband are a renowned producer and film director, and their work enabled them to save up to build their dream home – but this dream became a living nightmare after the bombing of a nearby airport and occupation by Russian forces.

Ina and Svet managed to escape to Warsaw and get to Glasgow, with Ina’s husband staying to fight for Ukraine.

After their arrival in May 2022 they spent weeks living in a hotel room, until moving into their Homes For Good property in August. Svet’s room was decorated yellow – his favourite colour – and their new bathroom was almost identical to the one they had in Ukraine.

The Homes For Good team helped them settle in and provided essential furniture, welfare and benefits. Four months on, Svet has his own mini piano and he enjoys playing and composing music. Ina spends time with the growing Homes For Good Ukrainian friendship group and, after joining a Ukrainian street football team, she became a captain and took the team to an international football tournament for women.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director at UN-Habitat, said: “With housing and living costs rising globally and increased risk for many to fall into homelessness and informality, we are more convinced than ever that ensuring adequate housing must be understood as a shared responsibility of all housing stakeholders.

“In the case of Homes for Good, we appreciate the full role of the private sector stepping up to provide affordable housing to low-income people, embracing housing in its social function and human rights status. Further, the partnership with specialised organisations ensures that people are put at the centre of each step of the process.”

Leilani Farha, Global Director of The Shift and a final judge of the World Habitat Awards, said: “Homes for Good challenges the idea that a good return on investment in housing requires steep rents. Instead, they’ve developed an effective business model investing in buildings which they upgrade and provide at affordable rates for people with the lowest incomes. At a time when decent, low-cost housing is scant, Homes for Good is exactly the type of social enterprise the world needs more of.”

David Ireland, Chief Executive of World Habitat, said: “Homes for Good is a social enterprise that sets new standards. It has taken the ethos of social housing and applied it to privately owned housing. It provides really good quality homes for vulnerable people and those on low incomes at an affordable cost.”

Susan Aktemel, Founder of Homes for Good said: “We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to win this global award. Developing a new approach and business model to raise standards in the private rented sector has taken a huge amount of work and determination since we started in 2013. As we reach our 10th birthday, we still have significant work to do, and winning the Gold Habitat Award is a huge endorsement and motivator for us to keep going.”

Notes to editors:
• More information about the Awards and this year’s winners – of which there are two Gold winners, two Silver winners and six Bronze winners – is available at
• Entries for the next round of the World Habitat Awards is now open – for more information visit
• Spokespeople are available, please contact the World Habitat media team to arrange.

Scottish housing chief sets out challenges facing sector

By Scott Wright
Deputy Business Editor, The Herald

This article was first published in The Herald. The newspaper article is linked here.

HOMES for Good has entered 2022 with confidence after safely negotiating the slings and arrows of the pandemic thus far. But there can be little doubt that, between a much-publicised housing shortage and proposed legislation to shake up the private letting sector, the social enterprise is facing a challenging environment as the new year unfolds.

Homes for Good has the broad aim of helping tenants access quality housing while protecting landlords’ investments. Susan Aktemel, who established the business in 2013, said it has managed to keep growing despite the uncertainty thrown up by the pandemic during the last 20 months.

Although its rate of growth dipped last year compared with the years prior to coronavirus – expanding by five per cent versus a more typical 20% – the business raised more investment and is hot on the acquisition trail for more properties
to add to its portfolio. Declaring that “we have come through this in a fairly healthy way”, Ms Aktemel said “we didn’t shrink, we didn’t lose money, and we are starting to grow again this year”. She added: “I am proud of how we have navigated through it all as a team.”

Homes for Good currently lets 520 properties, owning around 270, and has ambitions to increase that to 1,000 homes under management by 2025. It will be helped on its way by an investment of £3.5 million that it secured from Social and Sustainable Capital, a specialist provider of finance to charities and social enterprises, in December.

The investment is the second tranche Homes for Good has received from Social and Sustainable Capital, following a £2.85m loan from its Third Sector Investment Fund that helped it buy 53 properties in Glasgow in 2018. The latest funds will be used to invest in a further 50 properties in Glasgow and across the west of Scotland.

Ms Aktemel, whose firm also received investment of £3m from Big Issue Invest in September 2020, is already searching for property, but she admits it is not easy in a housing market where demand is now comfortably outstripping supply.
While market had been broadly “stable” during the early lockdown days of the pandemic, Ms Aktemel said it began to really heat up last year when a “pent-up” demand was released as people began to move house again. She is not sure of the precise reasons, but speculates some of the demand has been driven by people seeking bigger homes because they are spending more time working from home.

Such has been the rise in demand, Ms Aktemel notes, Homes for Good will now receive around 100 enquiries for a one-bedroom property it has available to rent, compared with around 30 before the pandemic. “There are a lot of different factors at play that are making the market quite a challenging place for people, particularly for
people on lower incomes,” she said.

“It feels like there has been a reduction in properties that are available, so demand is far outstripping supply and of course market forces mean [when that happens] the prices creep up.”

That Scotland is facing a chronic housing shortage is not news. But it does seem the deficit has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Asked if enough was being done to address the housing shortage, Ms Aktemel replied:
“If you look at the more social end of the market, there is not enough social housing being built, and there is just not enough money available. I think the Scottish Government is very aware of the situation, and from what I am seeing they are doing as much as they can.
“There are lots of people who would happily be in the social housing sector who are now in the private rented sector.”

But that is not the only part of the market where the volume of housing stock is lacking, Ms Aktemel explained. There is a shortage of properties available for students in major cities, while in rural areas there is also an under-supply of affordable and social housing. Another factor has been the explosive growth of Airbnb properties, which is diverting stock into the hospitality, leisure and tourism industry. Ms Aktemel welcomes the legislation being brought in at Holyrood to regulate the short-let sector, which has proved controversial with the tourism industry. She said:
“Although we recognise there is a role for self-catering accommodation, when it gets to the point it’s reducing the supply of homes, which is a basic human need, that becomes problematic.”
Not every proposal emerging from Holyrood at present gets the thumbs-up from Homes for Good though.

Ms Aktemel fears that a proposed new deal for tenants in the rented sector, part of the government’s Housing To 2040 strategy, could have “unintended consequences”. Unveiling the plans last month, the Scottish Government said its proposals would provide tenants with stronger rights, greater protections against evictions and access to greener, higher quality and more affordable housing.

Ms Aktemel said: “Housing To 2040 is an ambitious programme to make the whole housing sector fit for purpose for the changing demographic in Scotland. “I am, however, concerned that current proposals now being taken forward by Patrick Harvie, especially relating to rent controls and ambitious energy efficiency targets, will result in unintended consequences of good landlords leaving the market. Unless enough new social housing is built this will create even further pressure on supply for people who need to homes the most.”

Six Questions
What countries have you most enjoyed travelling to, for business or leisure, and why?
I love Spain, and in particular Catalonia. I lived and worked there every summer during my university years, and it has felt like home since I first went at 17. I love the languages, the food, the people, the architecture, the sun – it is my place. Barcelona is as familiar to me as Glasgow, I know almost every corner of it, and this year I will be
spending time living and working there.

When you were a child, what was your ideal job? Why did it appeal?
I was always going to be a shopkeeper -I started in my nana’s pantry, with selling her back tins of fruit and soup, and my home-made rose perfume from the garden. The thrill of the sale has never left me!

What was your biggest break in business?
can’t think of one – I have had several – but they always boil down to the same thing – someone believing in you, backing you and making a connection or introduction on your behalf – and that being the next big opportunity that you need to grab. With Homes for Good it was my dear colleague, friend and fellow Director Alex Pollock, connecting me with Richard Brass, our first London investor in 2013. That changed everything.

What was your worst moment in business?
A malicious, anonymous complaint about me to a funder many years ago. I’ll never forget the sick feeling in my stomach when I saw it. But I also remember the way my board and advisors immediately came around me like an iron wall to respond to the complaint, which of course was unsubstantiated.

Who do you most admire and why?
That’s a hard one – I am inspired by many people. I admire the increasing number of women in political leadership roles – Jacinda Ardern is my favourite I guess, but also Nicola Sturgeon, Ursula von der Leyen, Kamala Harris – I watch closely how they operate and communicate, and try to learn from that.

What book are you reading and what music are you listening to?
Music – I love my 80s collection of every album I ever had, on constant shuffle, including the old Spanish and German tunes I collected in my travels in the late 80s. I am reading a couple of books a week at the moment, and my current one is How to Predict the Unpredictable – The Art Outsmarting Almost Everyone by William Poundstone.

Social enterprise lettings agency Homes for Good secures £3.5 million to buy dozens of properties

Social enterprise lettings agency Homes for Good has secured a £3.5 million investment to grow its property portfolio.

By Scott Reid

This article was published in The Scotsman – here in a link to the article.

The cash injection is the second made by Social and Sustainable Capital (SASC) in Homes for Good, which will use the funds to purchase up to 50 properties in Glasgow and the west of Scotland for people unable to access social housing, or who are at risk of homelessness.

The properties will be bought and refurbished to give tenants safe, affordable, and secure homes. Those tenants will also be able to access ongoing support with Homes for Good and its partners.

Currently, the social enterprise manages more than 500 properties and owns 266 properties. The fresh investment from SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing fund is seen as creating a major step towards Homes for Good’s goal of reaching 1,000 properties under management by 2025.

venture with a loan of £2.85m from its Third Sector Investment fund in 2018 to buy 53 properties in Glasgow.

Homes for Good was founded in 2013 by Susan Aktemel who saw the opportunity to improve the private rented sector for tenants and landlords through creating a new kind of letting agency.

She said: “A second round of funding will help us provide more high-quality housing to those who need it most. As the UK continues to experience a housing crisis, it’s critical that we innovate in the private

sector to help close the gap in housing provision, which is exactly what we do at Homes for Good.”

Ben Rick, co-founder and chief executive of SASC, added: “Homes for Good wants to lead by example in the private rented sector and to act as a catalyst for change. The properties will help to address the shortage of suitable properties in the region and expand their reach to those who may not otherwise have been able to secure good quality, affordable accommodation.”

SASC’s Social and Sustainable Housing fund was launched in May 2019. The fund provides loans of between £2m and £5m to social sector organisations that have experience of providing both housing and a high degree of support to disadvantaged clients.


Homes for Good- Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency- welcomes Big Issue Invest as new partner in £3 million deal

  • Big Issue Invest signs its largest SEIF II investment to date of £3 million. 
  • Deal allows HFG investor Impact Ventures UK (IVUK) to successfully exit ahead of plan.
  • Exit believed to be one of the first and largest social investment exits on record .

A ground-breaking social business group which 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.”

For more information on HFG, visit

For more information or to apply for funding, visit

All female senior management team at the helm of award winning social property business group

Susan Aktemel, Kara Reid, Karen Leigh Anderson (back row left to right)
Joey Lawrie, Lorna Wyllie, Alice Simpson (front row left to right)

Homes for Good, Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency,  has celebrated International Womens’s Day (Sunday March 8) by unveiling its all-female senior management team, as part of its ambitious growth plans to grow to 1000 homes within the next 4 years.

The Homes for Good (HFG) group, Scotland’s only private sector lettings agency specialising in providing homes for people on low incomes or benefits, has over 500 properties under management and works with around 130 landlords and 800 tenants in and around Glasgow and the West of Scotland.

 Since 2014 HFG has raised around £12 million investment to create its own portfolio of high-quality homes for people in housing need. The award-winning social enterprise has recently been awarded £2.4 million by The National Lottery Community Fund to roll out its successful model across the UK.

Executive Director Susan Aktemel founded the Glasgow-based company in 2013. An experienced property developer, Susan combined these skills with her commitment to improving people’s lives to create Scotland’s first social enterprise letting agency and social landlord in the private rented sector.

Susan previously created and grew Impact Arts, now a leading Scottish arts and regeneration charity, from 1994 to 2012. In 2017 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Strathclyde Business School for achievements in social enterprise and was inducted into the Strathclyde Academy for Distinguished Entrepreneurs in 2019, when she was also awarded the Cambridge Judge Business School / Trinity College Social Innovation Prize. She has also recently been appointed as Visiting Professor at Strathclyde University Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship.

Alice Simpson is Director of Assets & Governance and Company Secretary. Alice joined the team in 2014 and has played a key role in helping to grow the business group.  Her key focus is on managing the organisation’s assets, strengthening the core business operations of the group, ensuring HFG is fit for sustainable growth, and that the group works to best practice guidelines and legislation.  Committed to social change, prior to joining Homes for Good Alice  worked with Orchard and Shipman and Y People, supporting vulnerable people to access emergency housing.

Director of Operations Kara Reid joined Homes for Good in December 2019, after 15 years in management roles within the private rented sector, including working on the national asylum seeker accommodation programme. Kara is responsible at Homes for Good for the day to day running of core business activities, including  business development, lettings, repairs and maintenance, tenancy support and ensuring compliance across all aspects of property management and overseeing the growth of the staff team from its current size of 22 to 40 over the next 18 months.

Joey Lawrie, Head of Tenancy Support and Partnerships, joined the team in 2015 and has been central to the success of the unique approach Homes for Good has developed in working with tenants and supporting them to feel secure in their homes and improve their lives. With a background in psychology and mental health, Joey is leading a growing team of tenancy support officers and specialist advisors, as well as developing partnerships with organisations such as The Wise Group to enhance the services offered to tenants.

Karen Leigh Anderson joined the team in September 2019 as Programme Director for Replication and Learning, enabling other social enterprises across the UK to learn from the Homes for Good unique approach to providing homes for people who need them. Karen’s career spans both the private & social economy, with significant experience in social franchising, replication & growth though her work with more than 80 organisations considering social franchising.   Karen is a member of faculty at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in the Centre for Social Innovation and is also a Churchill Fellow for Enterprise for 2018.

Lorna Wyllie joined the team in October 2019 as part-time Finance Director with the Homes for Good Group. Lorna is a former partner with Glasgow-based accountant Wylie & Bisset where she headed up the Business Advisory Services team and managed a large portfolio of clients.  She has worked across a wide variety of sectors including third sector and commercial organisations.  

Homes for Good founding director Susan Aktemel said: “I am really pleased to have built this six-strong female leadership team, who have first class experience and a strong track record in their respective fields of housing, care, social business and finance. Over the next 4 years we planned to grow to 1000 homes under management, raise a further £20m investment and work with over 300 landlords and 1500 tenants, providing quality homes for people who need them. We are extremely well placed to achieve this with this excellent team of professional women. I am lucky and proud to have them on board.”

2019 Excellence in the Private Rented Sector Winner is Homes For Good

Homes for Good has won the Excellence in the Private Rented Sector award in The CIH Scotland Excellence Awards and our founding director Susan Aktemel was also shortlisted in the Excellence in Leadership and Outstanding Contribution to Housing categories.

The Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate the creativity, passion and innovation of housing organisations and individuals across the housing sector in Scotland.

Our subsidiary Homes for Good Glasgow has also been nominated for Social Investment Deal of the Year in the Social Enterprise UK awards, which take place in December.

Homes for Good founding director Susan Aktemel said: “We are delighted to be nominated for these awards and to have our work recognised in the housing and social enterprise sectors. It has been very much a team effort. Over half of our staff have personal experience of poor conditions in privately rented homes, while our support model was co-produced with tenants with direct experience of insecure and low-quality rental housing.

CIH Scotland director Callum Chomczuk said: “The annual CIH Scotland Excellence Awards are a chance for us to shine a light on the individuals, teams and projects across the housing sector that are making a positive difference to people’s lives. We know that good quality housing and the services provided by housing professionals improve health and wellbeing, reduce poverty and inequality and create vibrant, sustainable communities.  We are pleased to be able to celebrate these achievements with more than 400 guests this year at our biggest award ceremony ever.”

Scotland’s first social enterprise lettings agency receives £2.4 million from the National Lottery to expand UK-wide

An award-winning Scottish property management social enterprise, which helps vulnerable housing tenants access quality housing, has been awarded £2.4 million in National Lottery funding to roll out its successful model across the UK.

Read more on Firstport – 16 September 2019

£2.4m boost for social enterprise

Third Force News – 16 September 2019

Homes for Good is set to expand across the UK following an initial successful spell in Scotland

Read more here.

Social enterprise bags £2.4m to roll out model UK-wide

In The Scotsman – 16 September 2019

Homes for Good, which specialises in supporting people with limited housing choices including those who are homeless, receive benefits or are on low incomes, has been awarded the multi-million-pound sum from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Read more here.

Glasgow housing project given cash to help vulnerable tenants across UK

In the Evening Times – 16 September 2019

The National Lottery has provided a Glasgow-based social enterprise lettings agency with millions in funding to help in their work housing vulnerable tenants.

Homes for Good (HFG) has been awarded £2.4million to help them take their work supporting people with limited housing choices, including those who are homeless, on benefits or low incomes, UK-wide.

Read more here.

£10,000 Cambridge prize for ‘achievement and ambition’ in social enterprise

£10,000 Cambridge prize for ‘achievement and ambition’ in social enterprise

Susan Aktemel recognised as one of the UK’s top 100 changemakers

Thanks Big Issue for recognising our Director, Susan Aktemel, as one of the UK’s top 100 changemakers.

We have a lot going on at Homes for Good & Susan is keeping all the team on our toes as we continue to grow.

Read all about it here.

Susan Aktemel, founder of the UK’s first social enterprise letting agency