More than 100 affordable homes are to be built in Aberdeen to help tackle homelessness.
The Housing First initiative, backed by Josh Littlejohn – co-founder of the Social Bite shops in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee – will result in hundreds of flats being provided for homeless people, who will also receive support from local charities.
The Evening Express reported Aberdeen received £400,000 as part of the scheme and now it can be revealed Aberdeen City Council has pledged 120 of the 800 homes, while Glasgow and Edinburgh will build 275 each, Dundee 110 and Stirling 20.
Mr Littlejohn, 31, who was in the Granite City to promote his Sleep in the Park venture on December 8, has been calling for a more joined-up approach to tackle homelessness.
He said: “The Scottish Government has pledged £4 million and we need to raise more money as well, which is why we are holding the Sleep in the Park events across Scotland’s four biggest cities in December.
“We are hoping 12,000 people will take part, and are looking for 2,000 to commit to sleeping out in Duthie Park in Aberdeen. This will help us move forward with Housing First, which is a really bold new plan to provide flats and wrap-around support for those who need help.
“Until now, councils have often found dealing with homelessness is very difficult. It’s not just councils, but the NHS and the police who often have to grapple with the background problems of those without homes.
“That can involve addiction, or illness, or it can mean people who are in and out of prison. It’s breaking that spiral which is one of the biggest challenges.
“But Housing First can change that. The programme is for two years, but my hope is it will continue in perpetuity.”
Councillor Sandra Macdonald, Aberdeen City Council’s housing spokeswoman, said: “We welcome the Housing First initiative and we have been working to introduce the approach since last year, partnering with local organisations including Aberdeen Cyrenians, Aberdeen Foyer and Turning Point, housing associations, and landlords to reduce homelessness.
“The initiative is in addition to projects the city council was already working on. There are plans to build 2,000 homes to help the most vulnerable people in society including homeless people.”