Social Bite founder wants roadmap to fight homelessness

Cybg ceo david duffy and josh littlejohn of social bite 2

​Housing crisis will persist without collaborative effort 

31st October 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn says Scotland needs a roadmap to tackle homelessness before the crisis can be solved.

The social entrepreneur has commissioned research by Heriot-Watt University’s Institute for Social Policy which shows that a collaborative effort is needed to end homelessness.

The study warns of a growing crisis in Edinburgh in particular due to widespread reports of increasing number of people sleeping on the streets, emergency accommodation “struggling to cope with demand” and “acute pressure” on all forms of affordable housing.

Growing numbers of EU migrants are said to be sleeping rough without access to public funding in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, while the authorities in Glasgow are said to be under “significant” pressure due to the number of asylum seekers being given refugees status and accepted as homeless.

Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, author of the report, said: “It is possible for collaborative efforts to seriously drive down this persistent and distressing social problem.”

The research recommends the roll-out of a “Housing First” model, offering homeless people a permanent home accompanied by personalised support packages.

Littlejohn said: “Housing First basically means that rather than making homeless people live through years of expensive temporary accommodations and rough sleeping, we provide access to a mainstream tenancy straight away and invest in a well-resourced support structure to support them in that tenancy.

“The study gives us a very clear roadmap of how homelessness could be brought right down and the issue could be solved. The statistics are certainly not so big that it is beyond our combined wit as a nation to end homelessness in Scotland.”

It comes as the charity announced donations to Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park, which will see stars like Liam Gallagher, Amy MacDonald and Deacon Blue “busking” before the world’s biggest sleepover, have already reached £1m. 

The study gives us a very clear roadmap of how homelessness could be brought right down - Josh Littlejohn

It suggests that around 470 people could be helped into mainstream tenancies as a result of this initiative, which aims to raise £4m.

Around 3,000 places have already been snapped up.

It was also announced that Clydesdale Bank has become Sleep in the Park's main fundraiser aiming to raise £500k. 

 Littlejohn added: “We’re blown away by the generosity of the public and it’s phenomenal that we’ve reached the £1m mark.

"We’re right on track to hit our £4m target and there are only 3,000 spaces left, so people shouldn’t hang about if they want to join the world’s biggest sleepout and end homelessness in Scotland for good.”