It may be 2018, but sadly in Scotland many are still struggling with .
Across the country, the homeless community are forced to sleep rough.
It’s a heartbreaking reality at any time of year, but when the mercury plummets during winter and homeless people are left to endure horrendous weather conditions such as ice, snow, rain and heavy winds, it’s all the more difficult to accept this is everyday life for many in Scotland.
We are a nation of givers and when it comes to homeless people, many of us do our best to spare some change or buy a copy of the Big Issue, but there is so much more we can be doing as individuals to help tackle this devastating national issue.
It’s important to be aware of the resources available to help the homeless community, and how you can do your bit.
Here is some advice to follow if you are concerned about someone you see sleeping rough in Scotland.
Glasgow , your first point of contact should be the Simon Community Rough Sleepers and Vulnerable Peoples Service.
They can be reached on 0800 0277466 and will send staff out to the person to offer assistance.
Even if you are outside of the city, the Simon Community can point you towards relevant services for the area where you saw the homeless person.
You can also contact Edinburgh -based StreetWork which fields calls from the public to target help as well as its outreach work. They can be contacted on 0131 344 0825.
Finally, Shelter Scotland have a free helpline which is 0808 800 4444.
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2. Call the council
For areas which do not have local services available, you should contact the relevant local council.
If a homeless person has nowhere to sleep at night, the local council has a legal duty to help them.
If the local council office you are contacting is closed, there should be an emergency/out of hours number to call.
3. Make a note of details about the person and their location
It’s important to take a note of details such as sex, location, what they were wearing, if they were on their own or with others and if they were young or old.
This information helps the local homeless service or council staff track the person down.
4. Say hello
It may just be one word but it can make such a big difference.
Homeless people are often lonely and isolated so showing you care can mean a lot.
5. Tell them where the nearest soup kitchen is
There are many soup kitchens and homeless shelters open every day across Scotland, with organisers and volunteers willing to help the country’s most vulnerable.
In Glasgow, there is the Glasgow City Mission who offer an evening drop-in service at 20 Crimea Street, where rough sleepers can go for a hot drink and food parcel.
The Help 4 Homeless organisation also run a soup kitchen for two hours every Thursday evening outside on Cadogan Street, near Glasow’s Central Station.
In Edinburgh the Bethany Christian Trust Care Shelter provides rough sleepers with a place to go for the night where they’ll find shelter, a hot meal and warm place to sleep.
The initiative is run by volunteers from different church venues. Call 0131 561 8930 for more information.
Their Care Van, run in partnership with Edinburgh City Mission, is also out seven days a week between 9pm and 11pm to offer soup, rolls, hot drinks, blankets, clothes and general advice and information.
The Carrubbers Christian Centre on High Street, Edinburgh, serves a free breakfast every Sunday morning between 8am and 9am.
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