Homelessness in Scotland: Charity CEO calls for urgent local business support in run up to Christmas

13/12/2023

ALMOST sixty people could be sleeping rough across Edinburgh and Glasgow in the run up to Christmas according to Scotland’s largest provider of homeless support services, Simon Community Scotland (SCS).

The charity, known as Streetwork at Simon Community Scotland in Edinburgh, is currently responding to over 500 support requests per week at their Edinburgh and Glasgow Hubs, which are open every day. 

In Edinburgh, the charity is also supporting a dozen women who are experiencing homelessness by providing emergency accommodation. Around 30 people are currently in Simon Community Homes, and many more are supported through outreach services.  

In Glasgow, the charity is helping 56 people in supported accommodation, including through their managed alcohol programme, and prevented a further 35 people from sleeping rough in the first week of December.

Simon Community’s emergency winter appeal ‘A Safe Place’ is aiming to raise £200,000 this year with funds directed straight to people being supported through their Holyrood Road Hub, SCS Homes, Streetreads Library, Outreach and Accommodation Services and Street Team. 

Following the announcement that Edinburgh and Glasgow are facing a housing emergency, and amid ongoing cost of living challenges, Simon Community Scotland has written an open letter to businesses calling for support.

Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive at Simon Community Scotland, said: “This week alone we are providing safe places and support to well over 1,000 people who find themselves homeless in Edinburgh and Glasgow. People who are tired, cold, on the streets or in temporary accommodation. 

“The winter months are particularly hard and we’re doing all we can to help. But we need support from businesses across Scotland to allow us to keep people safe and supported this winter, through Christmas and beyond.

“We urgently need donations to our emergency winter appeal to cope with an increasing demand for our services. From employee fundraising, volunteering and charity partnerships, we’re keen to work with as many local businesses as possible. 

“Scotland’s housing crisis is a problem which won’t be solved overnight. Our Street Teams and hub staff are on the frontline, delivering support to as many people as possible. We have seen an increase in the number of people sleeping rough and visiting our hubs. We urgently need support to help provide safe places and support and we promise that all donations will be put to immediate use.”

According to Scottish Government figures, Edinburgh saw an additional 723 homeless households between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023. Glasgow is the local authority in Scotland with the highest number of people accessed as homeless (over 5,000 in 2022/23).

As of 31 March 2023, over 15,000 households were living in temporary accommodation in Scotland – 46% more than a decade before.   

The latest stories