Property entrepreneurs offer flats to homeless as part of support to Sleep in the Park

Two property entrepreneurs have offered to donate some of their flats to the homeless, in a unique collaboration with the charity Social Bite.

Dundee-based Graeme and Leanne Carling are offering units from their extensive property stock in Tayside free of charge, as part of their involvement with Saturday’s Sleep in the Park event.

The couple, who own private property rental and management firms Carling Property Group and PRS Group, are “walking the walk” by sleeping out at Slessor Gardens in Dundee as part of the mass event. As corporate sponsors of Sleep in the Park Dundee, the Carlings have already donated £5000. For every £2,500 more that their team raises, Carling Property Group and PRS Group will house one homeless person free of charge for a year, up to a maximum of eight people.

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Part of Social Bite’s mission is to make actual homes available for the homeless, rather than hostels and bed and breakfasts. Its Social Bite Village in Edinburgh opened in July. Social Bite and PRS Group are in talks over how the property firm can divert some of its units for use by the homeless.

Graeme Carling said:
“We didn’t hesitate to back Sleep in the Park Dundee. As property developers and supporters of their mission, it just makes sense that we would both take part in and sponsor it. But it was also important to walk the walk and go an extra step, particularly as we are landlords. Not only did we want to sleep out, we wanted to put some of our units to good use and offer accommodation free of charge to homeless people for a year.”

He added: “The more we raise in money, the more people we can house. We will then work with Social Bite to match people with the accommodation.”

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn said:
“We’re delighted to be working with Graeme and Leanne on both Sleep in the Park Dundee and on their offer to provided free accommodation for the homeless. It’s only through innovative solutions like this that we will help eradicate homelessness in Scotland.”

The Carlings grew their business initially by providing quality affordable housing. They have worked with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership on projects to convert non-residential buildings and renovate existing homes. Last year they made history as the first private property developers to receive affordable housing support from the Scottish Government.

The Carlings are active philanthropists, both through charity donations and taking part in fundraising events.

Carling Property Group owns and manages 350+ rental properties all over Scotland, making the Carlings Scotland’s largest independent residential landlords.

Sleep in the Park is taking place across four cities – Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dundee – with an estimated 12,000 people participating. Social Bite, which addresses homelessness through its cafes, restaurants and free food distribution in Scotland, is aiming to build on last year’s fundraising total of £4 million.

Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall are ‘busking’ at all four venues, travelling between each by helicopter. Other performers across the cities include Eddi Reader, Frightened Rabbit, Lulu and The View’s Kyle Falconer.