Scottish charities using digital technology to tackle homelessness

Shelter Scotland, have created an online tool that helps people in crisis find the help they need quickly, in an effort to solve the UK’s biggest growing problem.

Homelessness in the UK is on a sharp increase. In England, homelessness has risen 54% since 2010 and CRISIS have recently reported that by 2041 more than half a million people will be living without a home.

In Scotland 34,100 homeless applications were made 2016 – 2017 and 660 people sleep rough in any one given night.

Shelter Scotland’s online tool will allow people who are at immediate risk of homelessness find the information and services they need at a click of a button. The idea was born out of a housing and homeless hackathon in July 2016 and is being funded by Comic Relief.

Digital Manager at Shelter Scotland, Conrad Roussou said:

“We already receive 800,000 unique web visits a year including 5,000 people visiting our ‘advice for young people’ and ‘leaving home in a hurry’ pages.  Some of these people will be in a state of deep distress. The aim of this tool is to get them to the right information for them as quickly as possible – for example the address and phone number for their local council’s homelessness service.”

Other Scottish charities are also using tech to shed light on homelessness in the UK.

Street Change UK have set up a crowdfunding platform for people to give directly to individuals affected by homelessness for a specific item or service.

Read about Street Change here: Edinburgh based tech company transforming the lives of the homeless

And Ask Alex is a bot created by the Cyrenians to tackle the stigma surrounding those affected by homelessness.

If you want to learn more about issues around homelessness and how digital can be used to tackle these problems Ewan Aitken, Chief Executive at the Cyrenians and Bella Combest at Street Change UK will be speaking at FutureScot’s Digital Society 2017 conference in October, discussing digital solutions to tackling homelessness in Scotland.