600 rough sleepers to be offered homes


The Social Bite charity has raised £3 million mainly from the 8 000 people who took part in ‘Sleep in the Park’ last December, in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. This will enable around 600 homes to be provided for vulnerable rough sleepers and to help them sustain the tenancies.

The first homes will be available in a few months. Around 33 will be released every month until September 2019. From Scottish Housing News today:

‘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.’


A Scandinavian scheme, ‘Housing First’, is already being piloted in parts of Scotland. What is distinctive about this scheme is that it prioritises getting people off the streets first and into a stable home environment before tackling the problems such as drug addiction which may have been the initial cause of their homelessness. See this, on a Finnish scheme, reported in the Guardian in 2016:

‘The housing first model is quite simple: when people are homeless, you give them housing first – a stable home, rather than progressing them through several levels of temporary and transitional accommodation. The idea stems from the belief that people who are homeless need a home, and other issues that may cause them to be at risk of homelessness can be addressed once they are in stable housing. Homeless people aren’t told they must conquer their addictions or secure a job before being given a home: instead it is accepted that having a home can make solving health and social problems much easier.’

Homelessness in Finland is in steep decline, the scheme is considered a great success there and has been copied in Sweden. Knowing what we know about the UK government, I’m sure none will be surprised that the only reason given for not adopting such a scheme in a UK Parliament report was this:

‘We are cautious about investing further in housing first in England because of the severity of England’s homelessness challenge and the scarcity of funding and of social housing.’


In sharp contrast, the Scottish government clearly holds to more communitarian or humanitarian values and the First Minister has now said she would like to see the scheme expanded. Reported in the Sunday Post, she said:

‘The housing first model is already being used in certain parts of Scotland with quite significant success, and it is an approach that I am very interested to see extended by us and local authorities. I agree with the underpinning principles of the housing first model, because the approach is about responding very quickly to initial need but also looking at how a package of support can be put around somebody who is homeless and needs accommodation.’


One more wee bit of evidence that we want to run things a bit differently up here?


4 thoughts on “600 rough sleepers to be offered homes

  1. Ludo Thierry February 21, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    That’s great news about the £3M Social Bite has helped raise – and the 600 tenancies that will be funded, over time, following the Housing First model. Well done to all involved.

    John – you had asked re. Lord Adonis’ twitter comments calling out beeb bias in an earlier thread. The brexit coverage seems to have given him a bit of insight that, sadly, he clearly hadn’t developed at the time of the Indyref (given that he didn’t ‘call out’ beeb bias at that time). Still, better late to the party than never, and we’ll be delighted to have lord Adonis helping to monitor broadcasting bias when we have our Brexit Indyref. There’s a useful summary of his twitter campaign here: http://indyref2.scot/bbc-no-longer-impartial-says-former-labour-govt-minister

    Further good news. This tme re. Scottish breastfeeding figures, demonstrated in a major survey (8000 respondents) which was released today. Naturally, the beeb Jockland site managed to produce a ‘negative’ headline: ‘Quarter of mums made ‘uncomfortable’ breastfeeding in public’.

    Within the body of the article they did carry some relevant info – but clearly continuing to ‘shape’ the debate into their default ‘Scotland is rubbish’ position.

    Fortunately the ScoGov news service offers a rather clearer view of the survey evidence gained:

    More babies breastfed for longer.

    A new report has revealed that mothers across Scotland are breastfeeding their infants for longer periods.
    The Scottish Maternal and Infant Nutrition Survey found 43% of mums are continuing to breastfeed up to six months after birth, compared to 32% in 2010. This follows a number of Scottish Government programmes aimed at encouraging breastfeeding.
    The survey also found many infants are being introduced to complementary foods later – 46% by at least six months – in a trend that has continued since 2010, which is an important development for helping prevent obesity.
    A total of 8,000 women took part in this survey.

    More power to the SNP Scottish Govt’s continuing efforts to improve life chances for ALL Scotland’s babies. This stuff is really important in the long term programme of reducing Scotland’s health and education/employment inequalities. (These systemic inequalities being the true inheritance of our failed 311 year ‘experiment’ with the UK – long past time to bring the experiment to a close. One might almost say that it is well overdue for the britnat elites to be weaned from the teat of Scotland’s resources to which they have become so addicted).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alasdair Macdonald. February 21, 2018 / 9:17 pm

    The reason that Westminster is not taking on board the Housing First idea is that they wish to maintain the artificial housing shortage so that demand drives prices up and gives property owners a sense that their wealth is rising.

    PS A report on this has just appeared on the BBC website for the Edinburgh area. It has been reported fairly factually and without criticism or sleekit aside. Since “Prince” Harry – who lives in social accommodation – and Meghan Markle visited the Social Bite recently the BBC could not possibly be critical ….. at this point. I suspect there will be stories in a month or two about drugs misuse, prostitution, wanton damage to the properties by residents, etc. Remember, back in the 1950s when Council house were being built with BATHs and the media sneered that the hoi polloi would keep their coal in the bath. This kind of class war has a long history.

    The class war is fought daily by the Mail, Telegraph, etc, but they accuse people like Jeremy Corbyn of wanting to resurrect the class war.

    Liked by 3 people

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