In April 2019 Simon Community Scotland was delighted to merge with Streetwork to provide information, advice, care, support, accommodation and housing to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness across the city.
With a strong sense of purpose – everyone deserves a safe place to live and access to the services they need – we’re all working together; be that on the streets, in our supported accommodation, in our communities, alongside partner agencies or influencing others to make a positive difference in a trauma informed way for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
There have been notable developments since we merged with Streetwork. Here is a snapshot look at our services in Edinburgh:
Support Hub, 22 Holyrood Road
Open 7 days a week providing a wide range of information, advice, support & care to people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness.
Our team offer help and support with benefits, health, finances, legal advice, access to the digital world and more. Our Support Hub makes it much easier for people to get the support they need. Delivered in a psychologically informed environment, our team – which includes volunteers from our community – regularly provides over 400 supports a week.
Our Street Teams are out and about across the capital city every single day. Engaging with people who are rough sleeping, begging and in need of our support. Since the start of 2022 our team have regularly been preventing over 40 people a week from rough sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh, supporting them into accommodation.
In September 2021 we were delighted to take the lead on Housing First in Edinburgh. In the first 6 months we supported 154 people; with tenancy sustainment of those in homes of almost 90%.
As we continue to move forward with Housing First in Edinburgh, we look for new opportunities to support the development of ourselves and our service for the benefit of the people we work alongside.
Housing First is about human experiences, relationships, stories and life journeys and the positive impact that providing compassion and care brings to the lives of people who access our service.
There is more to long term safety and security than simply providing a home, this is just the beginning of the journey. Housing First provides support that is just a phone call or visit away, from the warmth of our staff team that want to help with the complexities that arise on a journey out of homelessness.
“The Team have a good way of connecting with people. They treat me like a human being, not like a number and always listen to me.”
We are working towards owning 30 properties across Edinburgh. We are halfway there! We are delighted that we can support people into homes that they can call their own … and continue to support them.
Women’s Emergency Accommodation
Our team run a 12-bedded emergency accommodation service for women in Edinburgh.
Our Street Team have direct links to this accommodation that is available immediately. This innovative service allows us to avoid the delays that can happen in the typical referral processes when we are helping someone to resolve their homelessness. It means people get a safe place to sleep as quickly as possible and avoid further harm.
Streetreads was conceived by Rachel Cowan, known around Edinburgh as the ‘Bookwumman’. Rachel would hand out books to homeless people and Streetreads was born.
We’re delighted with the continuing evolution of Streetreads, developing Rachel’s work into the Streetreads Library in the basement of the City of Edinburgh Methodist Church, in Nicolson Square. The library opened in August 2021 and since then the space has been used for creative writing classes, training, art therapy and the space has offered many the opportunity to escape from the often challenging present.