Blog: Get real, Mr Littlejohn MBE

Bruce Forbes

Bruce Forbes on how charitable fundraising alone cannot solve homelessness and that stating otherwise can understate the severity of the problem.

While I have every respect for his organisational fundraising and publicity generating skills, it is very apparent from his response to the latest Sleep in the Park event that Josh Littlejohn MBE either doesn’t understand the complex policy and resource issues around homelessness or he isn’t listening to what people at the sharp end are telling him about what is needed to even scrape the surface of the problem.

Raising £7.2 million over two years to help a small number of rough sleepers is no mean achievement. I wish him, and more importantly, the homeless people he helps, every success.

Following it up with ludicrous claims that two fundraising events are collectively giving a voice to the homeless must be music to the ears of all politicians in Scotland – the public are still being sold a message that charitable fundraising can solve homelessness – no need for more resources from the state then?

He then goes on to claim that there are 11,000 homeless households in Scotland. The Social Bite fundraising efforts are going to help 830 households but according to Mr Littlejohn, “it is not a question of resource, it is simply a question of focus”. Even more outrageously, look at the Sleep in the Park website with its tagline message, “A nationwide sleep out to end homelessness in Scotland for good”. An ever so slight exaggeration?

I don’t know which school Mr Littlejohn attended, but arithmetic was clearly not their specialist subject.

Read more: Blog: ‘The homeless do not seem to drink in here’

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