Peter – Edinburgh, aged 39
I’ve been with Streetwork at Simon Community Scotland for years. It was their Street Team that I met at first, then I started to visit their Hub on Holyrood Road. They’ve stuck with me through all my challenges; homelessness, mental health and substance use. I was stuck in a cycle of temporary accommodation, exclusion, rough sleeping and re-presentation.
I honestly thought I was at the end. I was in a horrible temporary place, nothing was working and I had no hope of getting a home. I was so low that my only option was to open up more. The team supported me and got me into one of their new SCS Homes out of the city centre. I was ready for a fresh start. The team told me they’d keep supporting me. It wasn’t just a home I needed. I still need support and they understand that. The team visit me two of three times a week, but I can see them more often than that if I need it.I was afraid. Now I feel safe.
Our team asked Peter a few questions;
How does the quality of your home compare to previous tenancies (if any) you’ve had?
“I love my new home and feel like now I have a safe and comfortable place to continue focusing on my recovery and get the life I’ve been fighting so hard for.”
How does this home compare to your last accommodation?
“It’s night and day from where I came from, living homeless for so long. Temporary accommodation gave a bit of security but having my own locked door now has made a huge impact on improving my mental health.”
What do you like best about your new Simon Community Scotland Home?
“Just having my own space and the freedom that comes with preparing my own food, having my own routine, and having a normal life. Thank you.”
Chris Fitzpatrick, Service Lead – Housing First and SCS Homes:
“On initial viewing of his SCS Home, Peter was reluctant to take up the offer of a tenancy, concerned over what support would be available to him upon leaving temporary accommodation. But we worked to reassure him that we were going nowhere; committed to supporting him for as long as he wanted. Having decided to take up his tenancy, we supported Peter to furnish his home and get all settled in for Christmas 2022, his first in his own home for a number of years. He told us it was the best Christmas he had in a long time, enjoying the peace and quiet.
“We also referred Peter to our digital Get Connected 500 scheme; securing him a smartphone in place of a series of burner phones. This means Peter can now access his benefits and banking online, as well as staying connected with others. In addition to engaging with our support, Peter has registered with his local doctor and dentist as well as with his wider community, including recovery activities.”
To help us provide safe places and support to people like Peter, please visit https://justgiving.com/campaign/asafeplace
A few notes about our work in Edinburgh
Background – 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.
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 offers 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 700 supports a week.
- Street Team – 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. Our team have regularly been preventing over 50 people a week from rough sleeping on the streets of Edinburgh, supporting them into accommodation.
- Housing First – 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.
- SCS Homes – We are working towards owning 30 properties across Edinburgh. We are almost 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 working in partnership with City of Edinburgh Council and Cameron Guest House Group our team run a 12-bedded emergency accommodation service for women in Edinburgh that provides support 7-days per week. Our Street Team has direct links to this accommodation, ensuring that they can immediately refer women into this safe place as quickly as possible.
- Streetreads Library – 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