Our CEO Janet Haugh, talks about the reality of homelessness and how we can be Right There for people, helping to prevent homelessness, one person at a time.

Scotland is in the midst of a housing crisis with one household becoming homeless every sixteen minutes.  

This depressing statistic is a reminder that homelessness is a very real and devastating problem facing tens of thousands of people here in Scotland, and across the whole of the UK. As the sixth richest country in the world it is staggering that so many individuals are faced with the trauma of not having a safe place to call home. 

The cost of living crisis continues to be a factor, with more and more people struggling to make ends meet. Inequality and poverty are on the rise, with the gap between the most rich and the most poor widening year on year. That coupled with the sobering statistic that every single day 45 children will become homeless in Scotland makes you question why as a nation we can’t get on top of this issue.  

It has been predicted that by 2026 homelessness will increase by a third. So what is going so badly wrong in this country that instead of preventing people becoming homeless the problem is in fact getting worse?  

200 years ago evangelist David Naismith created a charity to provide a lifeline for young men in Glasgow who were suffering from growing inequalities. Joining focuses with the YMCA Glasgow in 1848 the charity has evolved over 200 years, evolving to become Right There. Who would believe that the problems faced by those young men who inspired Naismith to take action back in 1824 would still be the same two centuries later? 

Our charity has evolved through the decades, standing the test of time during some of the most challenging times in history. We’ve supported local communities through two World Wars, to the Great Depression to mass-migration movements, welfare reforms and health pandemics. Although our approach has changed, focusing more on prevention and tailoring our support to meet individual needs through providing safe homes, emotional wellbeing, family support and outreach in the community – our commitment to advocacy has never waivered.  

We have an opportunity through the Scottish Government’s forthcoming Housing Bill to make real and tangible changes that could go some way to slowing the upward projection of statistics illustrating the numbers of people faced with, or living with homelessness. This Bill is not the silver bullet, it won’t end the crisis we’re in but it can make a difference.  

Homelessness is not just about rough sleepers, it’s about people being forced to live in their cars, or tents, to sofa surf, to live in temporary accommodation, it’s where families become separated from one another. It comes in many forms. And it is all these forms that we need to address. As a country, the continued prevail is a national embarrassment.  

Over our 200 year history, as a charity we have learned that people in the face of hardship show incredible resilience. We will continue to be right there for people, helping to prevent homelessness, one person at a time.

You might also like…

Be part of helping to change the lives of 2000 more people this year, by getting involved in our 2000 More pledge.


Keep in touch

Sign up to receive email updates about our work and how you can be part of our growing community.