Janet Haugh, Right There CEO, writes in this piece published in the Herald of the impact of the charity in terms of reduced need for health and social care services.

There is absolutely no doubt the cost of living crisis is hitting the third sector hard. Costs are up and donations are down, it’s simple maths, equalling very challenging times. But as anyone working in the charity sector will tell you, these challenges only make us more determined to provide support to the most vulnerable of society, and those who need us most.

At Right There, as a charity we are driven by the desire to help individuals through preventing and tackling homelessness, one person at a time. Our support is tailored to each person, and we pledge to be right there for as long as it takes. We rarely think of this support in monetary terms, we measure our impact by the journey each individual takes, and the difference we make to their lives.

But a recent study evaluating just how much our support saves the public purse has brought into stark reality the difference that our unique approach makes to taxpayers as a financial saving. To see the impact of our support defined in such large financial terms is quite overwhelming.

Right There supports almost 4,000 people each year and research showing the impact of our work, using a social return on investment approach, calculates the true value of that support being in excess of £300m as a saving to taxpayers. With the Scottish Government recently declaring a national housing emergency, the significance of this cannot be underestimated.

The evaluation was carried out in the context of the current landscape of economic, political, social, and environmental factors that have and are continuing to shape the third and public sectors, to show the social benefit to society achieved through our work. It looked at savings to the public purse through the likes of long-term health and social care, unemployment benefits, emergency accommodation and by helping to stop people’s problems from worsening.

Savings that have been measured include the cost of NHS treatment for issues such as substance use and poor mental health; the avoidance of future interactions with the criminal justice system; the benefits of individuals moving into longer term, more sustainable accommodation and savings to the Scottish economy in supporting individuals towards employment.

Right There, formerly part of the YMCA movement, has provided practical assistance, advocacy, and empowerment for 200 years, assisting individuals facing tough times. The charity is built on the principle of meeting people where they are without judgement and walking alongside them, tailoring support to their ever-changing needs from providing safe homes to emotional wellbeing and family support as well as community outreach. We offer unwavering life-improving support and a helping hand when they need it most. That includes accessing medical help, guiding them toward employment opportunities and, ultimately, a secure long-term home.

At a time when Scotland’s housing crisis is intensifying, and the prediction that homelessness will increase by a third by 2026, the need to invest in this sector is more critical than ever, as the long-term savings far outweigh the spend.

Click to read the recent study “The Difference That Right There Makes” (PDF)

(This article was first published in The Herald on 04 June 2024.)

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.