Charity expects more people to ask for help with homelessness this year
A homelessness charity has said there has been a “surge in demand” for their support services with a big increase in requests for support expected this year.
Marking World Homeless Day on Tuesday, Simon Community Scotland, which is one of Scotland’s leading homeless charities working on the frontline, said they supported about 100 people in Glasgow and Edinburgh sleeping rough on one recent evening.
Volunteers combed the city centres late at night where they located and supported 80 people sleeping rough in Edinburgh and 35 sleeping rough in Glasgow.
Last month alone, the charity handled more than 2,000 requests for support with issues such as helping people with accommodation needs, benefits, legal and financial advice, and wellbeing challenges.
The charity said it is expecting up to a 20% increase in requests for support this year.
Last year, Simon Community received about 8,000 requests for help, but this year, the charity is expecting to help more than 9,500 people.
The number did not include those housed in emergency shelters or temporary accommodation.
The charity’s Siobhan Paige warned that frontline teams are “almost overwhelmed” with demand.
Ms Paige, who is the support Service Lead at Simon Community Scotland’s Glasgow Access Hub on Argyle Street, said: “Our team saved dozens of lives last winter.
“If you’ve been out at night in Glasgow or Edinburgh, you’ll have seen our Street teams with their purple backpacks helping those facing a night sleeping rough.
“We supported hundreds of people through some very dark times.
“This winter is set to be even darker. It’s only October and our frontline teams are almost overwhelmed with demand for support.”
On Tuesday, the charity launched an emergency appeal titled A Safe Place to reflect how the provision of safe places is crucial to helping people facing homelessness.
The charity is looking to raise £200,000 through the appeal.
Funds will be directed to safe places, including community hubs, street teams and accommodation as well as basic life essentials for people they support.
Lorraine McGrath, CEO for Simon Community Scotland, said the number of people that front-line teams are supporting is reaching “record levels”.
She added: “We’re doing our very best to provide people with a safe place to access support and keep people safe from harm.
“But we are very stretched and desperately need more help.
“Whether you can support us as an organisation or as an individual, please consider supporting Simon Community Scotland’s A Safe Place appeal.
“If you see someone you are concerned about, please call our freephone in Edinburgh 0808 178 2323 & Glasgow 0800 027 7466.”
People can make a donation by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/asafeplace
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