In the last four months since lockdown (Monday 23 March 2020), Simon Community Scotland’s staff, volunteers and partners have supported 2,500 people experiencing homelessness or the risk of homelessness, including virtually eradicating rough sleeping for the first 14 days of lockdown from the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh for the first time in decades.
On the 23rd March 2020 Scotland went into lockdown. The COVID-19 pandemic presented everyone with one of the greatest challenges we’ve ever faced.
For people experiencing homelessness the challenge was even greater.
Having nowhere to self-isolate meant more risk of becoming ill with the virus or spreading it. The services people relied on disappeared – places people would go for food and clothes closed, along with shower and laundry facilities. The social interactions people took comfort from had to stop.
You helped changed the desperate situation for so many people experiencing homelessness. Here’s the amazing story that you played a part in.
A rapid response to support people during COVID-19
At the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, we ran a pilot to help people get connected and access support they needed. Through Simon Community’s Get Digital project, we gave 36 people a smartphone with unlimited calls, texts and data. Everyone participating in the pilot was already using our Housing Support service in Edinburgh. They were living in temporary accommodation (e.g. BnBs, and other council provision) and facing the most extreme forms of homelessness.
A powerful new film about a homeless teenage girl is being launched this week (Wednesday, January 8) at St Mungo’s Academy in Glasgow to raise awareness of Simon Community Scotland’s Nightstop project.