It is a pioneering homeless project which has seen life-changing results. The Thorntree Street Centre, in Leith, has helped former rough sleepers turn their lives around helped by the work of the Rowan Alba charity.

Their support has guided former rough sleepers through challenges they face, including alcohol addiction, and provides physical and emotional support through its services as well. Even the importance of having somewhere to call home through a secured tenancy gives the residents a steady foundation.

Now Rowan Alba is planning the next centre. Through the Community Shares Scotland scheme, a shares offer has been launched to raise the funds for a property on Peffermill Road, also in Edinburgh.

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The charity wants to duplicate the same unique model which delivers effective support and interventions for persistent street homeless people. They have now raised more than £127,000 of the £650,000 target through the Common Ground Community share offer which was set up by Rowan Alba founder Helen Carlin.

The aim is to convert the property into supported accommodation for nine people living with addiction problems who are currently, or in danger of rough sleeping.

Ms Carlin said: “I suppose we have a slightly different approach at Thorntree Street. We don't judge or try to change people or tell them what to do. We work work with them and their challenges. We just accept people for who they are. Don't get me wrong when we first started people thought we were mad and there was times when it was bedlam. The first few years were a steep learning curve.

"Over the years we have learned how to cope and adapt. In all likelihood people coming off the streets will have addictions and we can't change that but we can be there to understand. If you say to someone don't drink that is exactly what they will want to do.

"We don't prescribe but try to help people manage themselves with dignity. In other forms of homeless accommodation having an addiction would mean you wouldn't be able to stay and then there is a cycle of people being back on the streets. Here we offer secured tenancy rights and I think that makes a real difference."

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At Thorntree Street there is accommodation for 12 men over the age of 50. Support is available round the clock and three meals a day are provided and they can get help when they need it. It could be something as straight forward as getting to and remembering a doctors appointment.

Their different approach has helped to change the live of some of the residents and now the charity want to move to a second phase.

Ms Carlin, who has a background in housing having previously worked in local authority, added: "As a charity we don't have a huge amount of funds so could never have bought our own place. Even sites in Edinburgh we had looked up were quickly snapped up at higher than advertised rents or turned into tourism businesses or temporary accommodation.

"We found site we wanted to develop to offer accommodation for nine people who have been homeless. This time they will be en-suite units rather than flats as we don't think the clients who come to us will want to cater for themselves.

"The only way we can do this is through a share offer so we set up Common Ground Against Homelessness through Community Shares Scotland. I have put in some of my own money as well as I believe in it."

This new property would be long-term leased to Rowan Alba. The property will be jointly owned by the investors in the share offer (who will become members of CGAH) and will provide permanently affordable rent for the charity.

Ms Carlin added: "It is the aim of CGAH to provide homeless people with choice, dignity and security. Investors in the CGAH share offer will not only be helping to make a huge difference to lives but by helping get more people off the streets, they will be saving the public purse millions of pounds in the long term and helping CGAH to establish a long-term, sustainable solution to homelessness in Scotland - a model that can be replicated across the UK."

The investment forms part of Community Shares Scotland, a scheme set up with funding from the Scottish Government and the National Lottery Community Fund to support the raising of money through community shares, supporting in the region of 400 community groups since the programme launched in 2014.

The organisation has launched 35 community share offers over the past six years, totalling over £12m worth of investment from over 12,000 community members, which has been match funded by £24m from other sources.