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Rough Sleeping

Rough sleeping is the most acute and visible form of homelessness. It is estimated that more than 5,000 people sleep rough in a year. Our Homelessness: Far from Fixed campaign successfully gathered support from the public, politicians and many organisations across Scotland to fight for all types of homelessness including rough sleeping, overcrowding, sofa surfing, or living in temporary or unsuitable accommodation to be tackled urgently. Our campaign successfully put homelessness firmly back on the national agenda, and we will continue to fight for long-term and sustainable solutions.

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Rough sleeping

From beneath the arches of a cemetery a voice summoned me closer. Alan introduced himself and talked about his life before he became homeless. He was a company director, with a home, wife and children. This well-educated man described himself as, 'once rich, now poor.' Homeless for five years, Alan now considers himself to be somewhat of an activist for homelessness, and after several bad experiences in temporary accommodation, he says he has found some stability by setting up home in a secluded corner of the cemetery.

Photograph by Erin Brown

Rough sleeping

The meticulousness of Alan’s rough sleeping setup is unavoidably noticeable, with living and sleeping areas carefully designated by using found furniture and an array of personal belongings. I cannot help but wonder how he can leave the site without these items being stolen and, sure enough, he informs me that, while large items are never taken, the small items of sentimental value often are.

Photograph by Erin Brown

Rough sleeping

During our conversation, Alan tells me that he loves his site as there is, he suspects, a body of water which runs below the stone that is great for his back pain. When I enquire if he is warm enough during the night, he informs me that once beneath his four blankets he doesn't feel the cold.

Shelter Scotland housing advice staff offer support and advice to people who are struggling to find and keep a home and offer drop-in sessions in the hub, as well as going out to various sites to provide advice and support in the community.

Photograph by Erin Brown

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