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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Huge increase in demand sees charity give out winter crisis packs

This news post is over 1 year old

Homeless organisations sees demand increase by one third

Simon Community Scotland has launched its emergency Winter Crisis Appeal 2022 to help provide support following a huge increase in demand for their services.

In addition to ensuring they have the resource in their Street Teams, Hubs and Helpline, Simon Community Scotland will provide Crisis Packs for people struggling amid the cost of living crisis to maintain a tenancy, stay safe and eat as the cold winter months approach.

The charity is reporting a 33% increase in people seeking help and will provide support to 8,000 people this year. With the bleakest months of the year still to come, Simon Community Scotland needs donations to resource the support required and fund the distribution of up to 1,000 Crisis Packs and to give vital emergency support and guidance, as well as practical essentials to keep people warm and fed.

The affects of rising energy bills and food shopping for the people it supports in tenancies and those experiencing homelessness is dramatic. Daily walk-ins to one of  its Support Hubs increased by 100%. This means more funds are desperately needed to increase capacity at the Hubs and also to help the charity face the spiralling energy bills to allow them to be a warm space for people in need.

A worrying trend the charity says is some people fear they may lose their hard won tenancies as they will not be able to afford the bills.

Lorraine McGrath, chief executive, Simon Community Scotland, said:
“I wish we didn’t have to run an appeal like this but we are facing a perfect storm of rising energy prices, cold weather and huge inflation on basic food items. Our teams are working harder than ever this year to cope with multiple problems. No one chooses homelessness, but many times it is caused by family or relationship breakdowns. We are  also seeing an increasing number of people finding themselves homeless as they struggle with mental health challenges.

“There has been a surge in demand for our support services and winter is only just hitting. For many people we are speaking to, it isn't just a choice between heat or eat, it's also a struggle to keep a roof over their head. Everyone deserves to be warm and safe. It is a basic human need and our work is vital.

 “The impact that experiencing, or being at risk of, homelessness has on physical and mental health is frightening. We are hearing from more people with increased levels of stress and in desperate need of support through our Support Hubs, our Helpline and our Street Teams.

Siobhan Page, Support Hub Manager, said: “Our support and experience is needed now more than ever. We want to support and offer hope to as many people as possible. Every donation, no matter how big or small, will make a huge difference, it can be life saving. We’re extremely grateful to everyone that offers Simon Community Scotland a helping hand.”

"The Winter Crisis Appeal 2022 will go a long way to provide immediate help for people to get through this winter period. Our Crisis Packs will contain things like toiletries, food vouchers, jackets, warm clothing and a £50 top up for gas and electricity and be personalised to meet the needs of each individual accessing our help. Just like all of our support services.”