Earlier this year the Scottish Government published the official homelessness statistics for 2014/15. The report highlighted that the number of people who made homeless applications had dropped by 4%.
Whilst we welcome this decrease for some, many people still experience the sharp end of life without a roof over their head.
The number of rough sleeper and sofa-surfers is impossible to quantify since the majority of people living like this never register as homeless.
If the number of people who access the Care Shelter is any indicator, then this number is on the increase.
Year on year, we’re witnessing a dramatic rise in the number of people who turn to the Shelter for food and a safe place to sleep.
Last year’s attendance was up by 24% compared to 2013/14 and up 86% compared to 2012/13.
As the demand continues to grow we feel passionately that we have no choice but to extend the duration of the service. This year, the Care Shelter will start early, opening on the 19th of October and running for 3 weeks longer than last year.
We simply cannot turn away people who would otherwise be sleeping rough through the coldest months of the year.
While the Care Shelter is an immediate life-line for hundreds of people, we want to help people find a long-term solution for their situation.
As with foodbanks, emergency shelters are not something we want to need to operate. We want to eradicate homelessness; not to make it an accepted part of the social landscape.
So while our goal is to see the need for the Care Shelter disappear completely, for now, the Care Shelter is vitally important and so is your support. With your help, we can provide warmth, unconditional care and advice to people in desperate need.
While many of our projects are focussed on preventing homelessness, the sad fact remains that for too many people the Care Shelter is the only roof they will have over their heads this winter.