A charity boss today praised all those who took part in an Aberdeen sleep-out event in a bid to raise millions of pounds for a housing initiative.
Josh Littlejohn spoke after more than 10,000 people across the country took part in the Sleep in the Park event, spending a night outside to raise £4 million for Housing First.
More than 1,800 people turned up at Aberdeen’s Duthie Park for the event on Saturday and were entertained by KT Tunstall and Amy MacDonald, as well as Dons boss Derek McInnes, who read a bedtime story to the crowds.
The Housing First scheme, which is also part-funded by the Scottish Government, looks to give people sleeping rough “wrap-around” support, as well as a place to live.
Housing First has been trialled in countries like Finland, where it has all but eradicated long-term rough sleeping.
Josh, who is the co-founder of Social Bite said: “There are 11,000 homeless households in Scotland.
“When I think about all of the amazing different people, sleeping out throughout Scotland, the one thing that strikes me is that homelessness isn’t insurmountable.
“Scotland is a small enough country, a compassionate enough country and a collaborative enough country where nobody has to be homeless here.
“I would like to thank all the participants for creating this movement.
“We won’t end homelessness after one night, but we have made one giant leap towards that goal. And that is the achievement of everyone who took part.”
Josh said it may be difficult to repeat the event next year, because he expects it will prove tough for participants.
He said: “We had this discussion last year, and that’s why we decided to widen it out geographically, because we thought we would struggle to get the same amount of people taking part in Edinburgh this year, because it was so tough.
“So I don’t know if we’ll be coming back next year yet.”
Meanwhile, Eddi Reader, who performed in Aberdeen, said: “Sleep in the Park is an extraordinary event bringing people together from all over Scotland in the common aim of trying to end homelessness in Scotland.
“Social Bite are at the forefront of raising awareness of this issue, they are passionate about their work and are making a real difference to people’s lives. I am delighted to be a part of it.”