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8,000 to join Sleepout

Homes for homeless ahead of Sleep in the Park

Josh Littlejohn: radical shift in housing the homeless (photo: Terry Murden)

Two Scottish housing companies are to offer almost 500 homes to homeless people, it has been announced ahead of the world’s biggest sleepout fund-raiser.

Tonight’s ‘Sleep in the Park’ in Edinburgh will attract an estimated 8,000 volunteers who have so far raised £2.8m towards the £4m target as part of a campaign to end rough sleeping.

EdIndex Partnership, a joint venture by the city council and 19 registered social landlords, is setting aside 275 homes in Edinburgh. Wheatley Group is offering 200 homes for rough sleepers in Glasgow and the central belt.

With the ten homes being created at the Social Bite Village in Granton, it means almost 500 homes being provided.

Josh Littlejohn, co-founder of the charity Social Bite which is organising Sleep in the Park, said: “The pledges of homes represents a radical shift in structure with the way we give shelter to homeless people.

Communities Minister Angela Constance, who is among three MSPs taking part in the event, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to eradicating rough sleeping which is why we established our Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, which Social Bite takes part in.

“We are already implementing their first recommendations to tackle rough sleeping this winter. That works continues as we strive to end rough sleeping for good.”

Mrs Constance will be joined by Deputy First Minister John Swinney and the Minister for Housing Kevin Stewart.

Among the celebrities will be Live Aid organiser Sir Bob Geldof while business and civic leaders taking part are Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Ross McEwan, David Watt of the Institute of Directors, and the chief executive of Edinburgh City Council Andrew Kerr. A number of players from both Hearts and Hibernian football clubs have also volunteered to brave the cold.

Tonight’s event will feature entertainment from Liam Gallagher, Amy MacDonald, Deacon Blue and Frightened Rabbit. John Cleese will give a reading and Rob Brydon will host the event.

Daily Business will be reporting live from tonight’s event: watch out for our reports and photos..

See also:

MSPs join sleepout

Interview with Josh Littlejohn (last year)

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