Campaign highlights realities of homelessness

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B&B: Half of those helped by trust are trapped in temporary accomodation. 

Rock Trust aims to change public perceptions with series of posters.

8th October 2019 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A new campaign to influence public perceptions of youth homelessness is being launched on World Homeless Day this Thursday.

Throughout October, posters featuring real-life experiences of young homeless people will be on display on buses and in shops across Edinburgh and the Lothians.

Rock Trust, the youth homelessness charity behind the campaign, said it hopes the posters will show that rough sleeping is “only part of the picture”.

In Scotland last year, over 7000 young people (aged 16-25) were homeless. One in four of all homeless applications in Scotland are made by young people.

Half of the young people that Rock Trust supported during the year were not yet rough sleeping, but were trapped in temporary forms of accommodation such as hostels and B&Bs, or were sofa-surfing with friends, or sometimes placing themselves at risk by staying with strangers to keep off the streets.

Kate Polson, Rock Trust CEO, said: “We want young people experiencing homelessness and those who feel at risk to recognise themselves in the stories we are portraying and feel that they can trust us to support them.

“Public perceptions of homelessness as being solely rough sleeping mean that young people living in short-term, unstable, sometimes traumatising environments do not always realise that they can get help to move on with their lives, or that it is their human right.”  

The campaign was developed in partnership with marketing agency The Gate Edinburgh, who have been providing Rock Trust with pro-bono support since 2016.

Network Rail has also given its support, and an awareness-raising event is being held at Edinburgh Waverley station on 10 October to mark World Homeless Day. Charity partners taking part in the event include the A Way Home Scotland Coalition, Cyrenians, Streetwork, British Transport Police, and Clan Childlaw. There will also be a live performance from the Tinderbox Youth Orchestra at 5pm.

Mark Henderson, senior community engagement manager for Network Rail Scotland, said: “Train stations, especially major one like Waverley, are more than just transport hubs – they can also play an important social role in the communities they serve and we are pleased to be able to support Rock Trust’s new campaign.

“We are also increasing our own commitment to helping tackle homelessness through our Routes out of Homelessness initiative, which also launches this week and will see us work with local and national charities across Britain to supporting some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.”