600 rough sleeps to be offered housing through Social Bite campaign

Josh Littlejohn MBE launching the sleep out event

Around 600 of Scotland’s most vulnerable rough sleepers are to be provided with homes and continuing support to sustain their tenancies under an imitative launched by social enterprise Social Bite.

The charity’s 600 Homes campaign will aim to provide homes and support to 600 people in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee and will be largely funded by £3 million of the money raised from December’s Sleep in the Park, which saw more than 8,000 people sleeping out in Princes Street Gardens.

Social Bite will invest £1.5m into funding the support costs over the first 12 months and then plans to invest a further £1.5m over the following 12 months, alongside other funders.

The first homes will become available in spring this year with roughly 33 properties per month being released each month up to September 2019.

The 600 Homes campaign follows a ‘Housing First’ model, which gives people a secure home and then puts in place a support structure to help them sustain their tenancy and re-integrate into society.

Announcing her support for the project, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Tackling homelessness is a key priority for the Scottish Government.

“That includes development of the Housing First model, which has shown great results so far.

“The work of Social Bite has an important part to play in meeting our shared commitment to ensure vulnerable people can escape the dangers and uncertainties of homelessness, ensuring they have a warm and safe place to call home.”

Sir Bob Geldof addressed the crowd during Sleep in the Park

Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of Social Bite, added: “Our plan is to start placing people that are currently sleeping rough and in hostels or other temporary accommodation into this mainstream housing this spring. “We will now seek to work alongside other funders and The Scottish Government to ensure that the ambitious scale of this Housing First programme can be realised and that it can help lead to a significant structural change in how homelessness is dealt with in Scotland.

“All involved believe that this can be a major step in dealing with the homelessness issue here.”

Two of Scotland largest housing providers committed 475 homes to be allocated to homeless people across the central belt in the wake of the sleep out event.

Around 275 permanent housing association and council homes are to be provided to homeless people living in Edinburgh through the EdIndex Partnership, which is made up of representatives from the City of Edinburgh Council and 19 partner registered social landlords. The homes will be provided in the 18-month period from April 2018 to September 2019.

Wheatley Group has also committed to up to 200 homes for rough sleepers in Glasgow and the central belt, while Dundee City Council has pledged to provide 100 homes for rough sleepers as part of the initiative.

Councillor Kevin Cordell, the city’s convener of neighbourhood services, said: “Dundee City Council is pleased to be participating in the 600 Homes campaign, which will help us provide sustainable outcomes for vulnerable people in line with our ‘Not Just a Roof’ Housing Options and Homelessness Plan.”