Nicola Sturgeon has awarded homeless charity Social Bite £6.5 million to increase the number of people helped off the street by its Housing First program.
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn raised more than £4m with last year’s Sleep in the Park event to support the scheme, which sees rough sleepers housed in their own property alongside support for complex needs.
But the First Minister’s announcement at the SNP party conference in Glasgow today will now take the number of people helped up to 830 over the next three years with aid from local authorities, third sector and housing providers.
FM: We want to help Social Bite go further. So I am delighted to announce today that the Scottish Government will increase our investment to £6.5 million.
This will allow, not 200, but 800 people to be lifted out of homelessness for good. That’s making hope possible. #SNP18
— The SNP (@theSNP) October 9, 2018
“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,” said Sturgeon. “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.”
The move comes following recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, which included Littlejohn.