Out in the Cold

We’ve all felt the affects of the cold weather in the past few weeks, however for people without a home the snow and cold weather meant more than discomfort.

The bad weather highlighted the threat homelessness has become with few cases where it has taken the life of those on the streets.

Homelessness in Edinburgh and across Scotland has been at its worst the past couple of weeks, with temperatures in the country plummeting to below zero. The Scottish Government recently announced plans to increase funding to tackle rough sleeping, after an Edinburgh local homeless man died after spending a night in sub-zero temperatures. 

Though there is no official count of rough sleepers however charity Shelter Scotland estimate around 5,000 people sleep rough in Scotland throughout the year. With over 34,000 applications for homelessness assistance made to local authorities in the last full year, and this is only counting those who came forward for help.

Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “It is completely unacceptable that people face sleeping rough at any time of year, but when temperatures plummet their lives are at even greater risk.

“In Scotland, councils have a duty to take homeless applications from those who come to them for help and to accommodate them at least until they have investigated their case. Shelter Scotland helps people access these rights every year.”

Image Credit: Shelter

Campaign group Social Bite, founded by Josh-Littlejohn, continue to tackle homelessness, and are using the money raised from ‘Sleep in the Park’ last November, to help move the homeless into new houses.

They aim to take 600 people out of homelessness over the next year and a half, with plans to invest £1.5million into funding support for the homeless in the first year, and the same again the following year.

It is reported that the first homes will be ready in the spring, with the City of Edinburgh Council offering 500 properties for the project, with other homes being made available through housing associations across the country.

The dedication by Social Bite is praised by many, Edinburgh local student Sam Henderson said: “I think the work of Social Bite is exceptionally kind and selfless, and hopefully all their work will continue to encourage more people to come forward and help the homeless.”

Social Bite’s work has previously attracted celebrity support from George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also recently visited the cafe.

Their latest project is the largest commitment of this kind to help the homeless in the UK. 

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