Edinburgh homeless: 10 people sleep rough in Princes Street in freezing temperatures, says charity

Ten people were found sleeping outside on a main city centre street in freezing temperatures, sparking calls for urgent change from charity.
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A charity boss has said he was ‘heartbroken’ after finding 10 people sleeping rough as he drove along Princes Street, as temperatures dropped to minus five. Edinburgh-based Steps to Hope gave a hot drink to one young man with no blankets or duvet.

It comes after the Evening News revealed a facility for homeless people in the city is overrun with more requests for help than rooms available. Following a post on Facebook on Thursday (December 15) many concerned locals rallied round to donate with one woman saying she had transferred cash so the charity could buy blankets and sleeping bags.

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One woman said: “I have donated, please help that boy with no sleeping bag. I was in Edinburgh on Tuesday and heartbreaking to see the rough sleepers, most upsetting was one person under cardboard right outside the Balmoral Hotel, that really showed the gap between rich and poor!!”

Ten people slept rough along Edinburgh's Princes Street in minus five temperaturesTen people slept rough along Edinburgh's Princes Street in minus five temperatures
Ten people slept rough along Edinburgh's Princes Street in minus five temperatures

Others praised the charity for their work. One supporter said: “This is heartbreaking I have been thinking how cold it is in the house all week thinking about the people who can’t afford to have heating on and all the poor souls on the street, I don’t know how they have survived. I will make a donation! The work you guys do is amazing xx

Volunteers from charity, which operates a soup kitchen and addiction recovery, do ‘coffee runs’ out on the streets for those without a roof over their heads. They have raised cash to put on a Christmas dinner and provide bags of new, warm clothing.

Director Richard Rancero said: "It was heartbreaking to find ten people in the space of just a mile. I had tears in my eyes handing over coffee, one young lad didn’t even have a blanket. We need urgent change. During the covid pandemic people were off the streets and now we see the numbers starting to go up again. I think it’s only going to get worse. It’s not simple, some don’t trust services or want to be in emergency spaces provided like hostels. But we’re out there to show we care and get people along to our services.”

People in need will be supported’

Steps to Hope found one man sleeping with no blanketsSteps to Hope found one man sleeping with no blankets
Steps to Hope found one man sleeping with no blankets
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Cllr Jane Meagher housing,homelessness and fair work convener said: “When temperatures drop to this extent it’s more important than ever that we do all that we can to support anyone who may be at risk, particularly those with additional health conditions. Through our partners we’re operating a Welcome Centre to provide an additional 65 beds for people with wrap around support, alongside street based outreach seven days a week to anyone we see rough sleeping. People in need will also be supported directly into Rapid Access Accommodation.

“The Council has a campaign to spread awareness of the support which exists for people who are struggling financially this winter and our Council tenants’ rents remain frozen. We’ve also announced details of a citywide network of warm and welcoming spaces people can spend time in and use to seek assistance. We need to prevent more people from becoming homeless as far as we possibly can.