Communities Like Us – Common Ground Against Homelessness (CGAH)

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January 2021

Like us, there are a number of other community-led organisations in Devon and Cornwall, and from time to time each of us have a campaign to expand our membership and raise share capital. One of the seven co-operative principles is to be ‘co-operative amongst co-operatives’. So we are wanting to introduce you to a different community-led organisation each time we do an update. Together we can build a community of people and organisations that share a vision for a stronger, more inclusive future in the South West (and beyond). 

Mustard Seed Property (MSP) has been introduced to a community benefit society based in Edinburgh, Common Ground Against Homelessness (CGAH). Yes we know it is about as far away from Cornwall as you can get, but possibly it is the most similar in operation and focus to MSP that we have yet found. We were introduced to CGAH through Ethex, the online platform we were both using to launch our share offers. CGAH uses a very similar model to MSP, buying and leasing properties in a focused geography to a charity partner. Very recently CGAH issued its very first share offer – raising £715,000 in investment. Its ambition for this raise was to purchase a four-bed property and transform it into a nine-bed shared house for nine formerly street homeless men in Edinburgh. CGAH’s first charity partner is a homelessness charity providing supported housing for formerly homeless people called Rowan Alba.

CGAH’s ethos and values resonate greatly with our own – seeking to break common ground at a time when solidarity is needed most. In recent times the world has demonstrated this by combatting homelessness – the use of empty hotel rooms by individuals who would otherwise be homeless during the pandemic. Like so many other organisations, CGAH sees the importance of continuing this effort in the fight to end homelessness – creating forever homes for local vulnerable people.

Some of our directors have since met and agreed to periodically connect to share practices and challenges; hopefully making us stronger together!

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