A MASS sleepout aimed at eradicating homelessness in Scotland has raised £1 million – more than a month before the event is held in Edinburgh city centre.
The social entrepreneur behind the Sleep in the Park event revealed the milestone had been reached as he published a major new report lifting the lid on the scale of the problem across the country.
The new study commissioned by Social Bite, the social enterprise set up by Josh Littlejohn, also sets out a “roadmap” for tackling homelessness north of the border over the next few years.
It has also emerged that Clydesdale Bank has pledged a further £500,000 for what is hoped to be the world’s biggest sleepout in Princes Street Gardens on December 9, which is billed as Scotland’s answer to Live Aid, after Sir Bob Geldof agreed to throw his weight behind the event .
Around 3000 places have been snapped up for Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park event, which will see stars like Liam Gallagher, Amy MacDonald and Deacon Blue “busking” before the sleepover.
Littlejohn said: “We’re blown away by the generosity of the public and it’s phenomenal that we’ve reached the £1m mark. We’re right on track to hit our £4m target and there are only 3000 spaces left, so people shouldn’t hang about if they want to join the world’s biggest sleepout and end homelessness in Scotland for good.”
The Heriot-Watt University study for Social Bite warns of a growing crisis in Edinburgh in particular due to widespread reports of increasing numbers of people sleeping on the streets, emergency accommodation “struggling to cope with demand” and “acute pressure” on all forms of affordable housing.
Growing numbers of EU migrants seekers are said to be sleeping rough without access to public funding in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, while the authorities in Glasgow are said to be under “significant” pressure due to the number of asylum seekers being given refugees status and accepted as homeless.
Edinburgh and Dundee were found to be over-reliant on bed and breakfasts and hostels to provide accommodation for homeless people.