Funding appeal for hotels to house homeless

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Simon Community Scotland is supporting rough sleepers during the Covid-19 outbreak.

25th March 2020 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A charity seeking to ensure that homeless people are kept safe from coronavirus by housing them in hotels has issued an urgent appeal for funds.

Simon Community Scotland (SCS) has sourced the use of two hotels – one in Glasgow, the other in Edinburgh – to provide homeless people with the isolation and care required so they are not exposed to the virus.

At the weekend, it was announced the charity had secured £300,000 from the Scottish Government to acquire the hotel space.

However, experiencing higher-than-anticipated pressures on its budget, such as recruiting and training staff to run the hotels and providing them with personal protective equipment, SCS has now set up a crowdfunding appeal to raise much-needed cash.

Any money raised will also provide essentials such as toiletries, pyjamas and underwear and parcels of dehydrated “kettle food”.

On Monday evening, the first night of operation at the Glasgow hotel, 11 people who were rough sleeping in the city were safely accommodated. The charity expects to be at full capacity of 40 people within the week.

The Edinburgh hotel will also house 40 people, with SCS gearing itself up to provide longer-term housing for those requiring emergency hotel space. Neither hotel is being identified by the charity.

People are being identified for the hotel accommodation by the SCS street team, which operates 365 days a year and is highly experienced in finding possible solutions for homeless people in urgent need of support.

Lorraine McGrath, SCS chief executive, said: “We are all facing the most extreme challenges, but perhaps none more so than people who have nowhere to sleep, never mind keep themselves at a safe distance.

“Everyone at Simon Community Scotland is working tirelessly to ensure there is access to safe places with support and care onsite.

“We need your help to make that possible for everyone. We are working closely with our partner providers and local authorities with the support of the Scottish Government to get accommodation and access to health care in place.

“We now need to make that accommodation somewhere where people feel safe and comfortable with everything they need so they can socially distance themselves from risk.”

The fundraising campaign – SCSCOVID19 – can be found on the JustGiving website and on social media using the hashtag #GiveHope.

Ms McGrath continued: “We need funds to react to the changing pressures and needs, we need basic mobile phones and top-ups to ensure people can call for help and keep in contact, we need new and unused underwear, pyjamas and toiletries and we need foods that can be easily consumed with no more than a kettle.

“We are grateful to every single person who has contacted with support so far – together we can #GiveHope to people who are experiencing homeless.”