The number of Scots struggling to keep a roof over their heads is sure to rise in the coming months as the impact of the pandemic continues to be felt.
That’s according to Josh Littlejohn, chief executive of the Edinburgh-based charity Social Bite, which has been campaigning extensively around homelessness issues for almost the past decade.
Speaking to the Times recently, Mr Littlejohn suggested that an increase in homelessness and instances of people seeking temporary housing is inevitable even if the worst aspects of the public health crisis around Covid-19 can soon be left behind.
“There’s a wave coming when the furlough ends and when the true economic consequences of the pandemic kick in,” he is quoted as saying.
“Unless there’s significant support for people to weather the storm, then ultimately it will filter through to higher numbers of homeless people ending up in temporary conditions.”
Since the onset of coronavirus, the Scottish government has implemented a ban on evictions, which was recently extended until the end of March 2021.
Nevertheless, it is clear the pandemic has left many thousands of Scots in financial trouble and in a significant amount of rent arrears, which could eventually see some pushed towards a highly precarious housing situation.
Mr Littlejohn is in no doubt that there will soon be a rise in people needing new places to live across Scotland and he is calling for governments to introduce “rapid rehousing” policies to keep the situation from being made dramatically worse as the year goes by.
Social Bite was founded in 2011 as a social enterprise and a sandwich shop in Edinburgh, with the business’ profits used to help to tackle homelessness in the capital and to provide employment to people who have themselves been homeless.
A number of celebrities, including A-list actors George Clooney and Leonardo DiCaprio, have visited the Social Bite shop to raise awareness of its work and to help Mr Littlejohn raise funds.
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