Millions to be raised at city sleep-outs
Charity event will take place under the stars in Dundee for first time – in bid to eradicate homelessness
A major event aimed at helping eradicate homelessness is coming to Dundee – with people being asked to spend a cold, winter’s night in the city’s Slessor Gardens.
And the man behind Sleep in the Park says homelessness can be wiped out in and around Dundee with 100 properties offered up to help get people off the streets.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of social enterprise Social Bite, is bringing the charity’s sleepout to Dundee for the first time.
The money raised as part of Sleep in the Park on December 8 in the city, and also in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen on the same night, will go towards the group’s Housing First initiative, aimed at taking as many people as possible off the streets and into their own homes.
Crowds at the Dundee event – which it is hoped will attract 2,000 people – will be entertained by Kyle Falconer and Withered Hand with more acts to be announced.
The night will also feature performances from KT Tunstall and Amy MacDonald, who will play at all four events.
Josh told The Courier: “Last year, 8,000 people took part in the world’s largest sleep out in Edinburgh, and raised an incredible £4 million in the process.
“This year we’re doing something that’s never been done before – holding a simultaneous multi-city sleep-out in four of Scotland’s major cities, and we’re looking for the people of Dundee to get behind the cause and join our movement to eradicate homelessness.
“The money raised at Sleep in the Park 2018 will be put towards rapidly rehousing rough sleepers across Scotland as part of our Housing First scheme, providing our most vulnerable members of society with support.
“We will invest the funds so that homeless people in each of our four cities are given the help they need, and we’re so grateful to Dundee City Council for pledging 100 homes as part of our Housing First initiative.”
Josh said the mission is to eradicate homelessness and explained that the people involved in the programme will be “known to charities on the ground”.
He added: “They will be people who have been
Over the course of 18 months, we want to help 120 people
passed over by the system, who landlords may not have otherwise given a flat to. We’re doing it using a ‘by name’ list, working with frontline agencies, so they know the people who have been trapped in this cycle of homelessness.
“They’re usually staying in hostels or on the street, and they’re known to charities like the ones that we’re working with so they can evaluate the needs of people, and see who is most in need of our help. Over the course of 18 months, we want to help 120 people.”
Housing First, which is based on a Finnish initiative, has already launched in Scotland, with £3m of funding from Social Bite and the Scottish Government contributing a further £6.5m as Nicola Sturgeon announced this week.
Private landlords, the local authority and housing associations in Dundee have already pledged 100 properties for the programme, which will be used to house people who would otherwise be homeless.
The project would also include support for complex needs that many homeless people may suffer with – such as drug or alcohol addiction and mental health issues.
Josh hopes that Housing First will shift people away from “transient accommodation” such as hostels, and into “more mainstream accommodation”.
Social Bite will offer up a portion of the cash that is made through the sleep-out – hoped to be as much as £4m across the country – to charities in each city.
As we near the end of a year in which Dundee’s fortunes have felt very much on the up, it does no harm to be reminded that not everyone is basking equally in the V&A’s rosy glow.
The city’s first Sleep in the Park event is challenging locals to spend a cold, winter’s night in Slessor Gardens, to raise money to get rough sleepers into homes of their own. It is an excellent opportunity to show the world that the new Dundee is as big-hearted as it has always been.
Last year’s Sleep in the Park at Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. Right: Liam Gallagher entertaining at the event in the capital 12 months ago.