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Social Bite has launched a £3 million Housing First fund for rough sleepers

The project aims to bring 800 rough sleepers to long-term tenancies by 2020

Scottish social enterprise Social Bite has been busy in recent months – hosting a sleep-out, booking appointments with royalty and opening its own village for the homeless – and now it’s launched a programme to boost Housing First in Scotland.

The Edinburgh-based organisation teamed up with Glasgow Homeless Network (GHN) and charitable trust Corra Foundation for the £3 million plan – where rough sleepers are given a permanent home alongside specialised support.

Harry-Meghan-Social-Bite
Harry and Meghan visited Social Bite in Edinburgh to meet staff

It is hoped that the fund will help 800 rough sleepers across Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Stirling and Dundee local authority areas over a two-year period between August 2018 and July 2020.

Homeless people will be offered a much-needed secure and support long-term tenancy from housing associations and local authorities with support for mental health, addiction or other needs.

The single largest commitment has come from the Wheatley Group, which has pledged up to 250 homes across Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“Housing First means that home is the best foundation from which to address any other challenges or disadvantages people face. It means safety and security, and a fresh opportunity for people to build and live their lives as part of a community,” said Josh Littlejohn, co-founder for Social Bite.

“We have an incredible opportunity here to support 800 people off the streets and into mainstream accommodation with support. I would like to thank the 8,000 people that slept out last December and raised so much money, if it wasn’t for them, this simply wouldn’t be happening.”

The Social Bite chief is joined on Scotland’s Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group by GHN CEO Margaret Ann Brunjes and she has thrown her support behind Housing First.

“The success of this programme will depend on the very best support being provided by the very best support workers,” she said. “With a very small caseload, the Housing First approach will be personalised and persistent, flexible and asset-based – getting right alongside people to help them make their house a home.”

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