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Common Ground Against Homelessness

Who benefits

Common Ground Against Homelessness (CGAH) is a Community Benefit Society created to improve the lives of homeless people by providing a sustainable way for communities to come together to help end street homelessness

Supporting homeless charities to tackle street homelessness

 When the housing system fails and people fall apart, charities pick up the pieces. But charities are also victims of rising rental costs. Their innovation and financial security is threatened when they can’t find affordable, suitable properties in the areas where their help is needed the most.


Many life-saving services operate on short-term funding with very tight margins. When commerical rentals rise, they become unsustainable, forcing many to close.

More than just a solution for the financial challenges that charities face, Common Ground is also a solution to the problem of repeat homelessness.

Charities know people and how to help them. Whether that is helping them recover from drug and alcohol dependence, escape domestice violence or countless other problems, front-line charities are innovators in creating environments that work for people and keep them off the streets. That innovation can only happen when the charity is able to do it’s work without needing to find ever-increasing amounts of money to pay rising rents.

Future need

Before the stringent self-isolation measures necessitated by the spread of the Covid-19 virus, there were approximately 150 street homeless people in Edinburgh.

These people were temporarily accommodated for the duration of the crisis. Hotels, devoid of tourists, were being taken over to allow our street homeless to self- isolate. Prior to the Covid-19 crisis, being able to access this level of support and accommodation was unthinkable. Already the funding which supports this is being withdrawn and homeless people are back on the streets.

Current plans being drawn up under the Housing First  model will meet around 80% of need, so around 20% of rough sleepers will need long term supported accommodation. The type of long term supported accommodation Rowan Alba have created at Thorntree St. will give these marginalised individuals a home for life. Common Ground’s development will support other front-line Charity services in Scotland who can deliver accommodation of this standard and effectiveness

Rowan Alba

Rowan Alba has been supporting homeless people in Edinburgh for 15 years and the first organisation in Scotland to offer permanent homes to homeless street drinkers, without asking them to change their behaviour.

Rowan Alba’s approach at their Thorntree Street accommodation service in Leith is simple: give people an immediate self-contained permanent home, with no conditions and no requirements to prove they are ‘housing ready’. Tenants benefit from 24 hour support, communality , and three meals a day, which improves their physical and mental health. Since 2005 they have given 70 previously entrenched homeless men a home for life, with an average stay of 10 years.

Charity partners

In the future, Common Ground will offer their support to other charity partners in addition to Rowan Alba that share their passion for ending homelessness.

For over 50 years, Cyrenians have been supporting people excluded from family, home, work or community on their life journey.

Ypeople offer support, accommodation, mentoring and counselling for people across Scotland many of whom are affected by homelessness.

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