A multi-million-pound boost to a project aiming to eradicate homelessness in Scotland has been hailed as a “game-changer”.
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn said the cash would give homes to an extra 830 people as part of the Housing First project it is funding.
In her keynote speech at the SNP party conference in Glasgow yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon revealed £6.5 million will be given to the charity.
Josh said: “What this means in reality is that 830 people will be helped off the streets into housing with support and we will have taken a major step forward in restructuring how we respond to homelessness as a society.
“In my view that amounts to a game-changer when it comes to tackling the issue of homelessness in Scotland.”
Social Bite has teamed up with local authorities and charities Aberdeen Cyrenians, Aberdeen Foyer and Turning Point Scotland to offer “wrap around” care for people sleeping rough.
A joint Sleep In The Park fundraiser will be held in December to raise money for the initiative.
Homeless people who have complex needs will receive housing pledged by councils and landlords, as well as support with issues such as addiction or mental health problems.
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The First Minister said: “Many people who become homeless or end up sleeping rough have complex needs that require specialist support as well as a house.
“Traditionally the approach has been to provide support and get a person ‘tenancy ready’ before giving them a house.
“But that can mean they spend long periods of time in temporary accommodation, making it harder for them to address the other issues they face.
“We want to change that, which is why we are working with Social Bite and others to invest in and expand Housing First to make it a key element of all homelessness services in Scotland.
“It is our priority to get a person into settled accommodation first, so they can then access support from the security of their own home.”