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Home  >  News  >  Edinburgh Churches Put Roof Over 700 Homeless People During Winter


Edinburgh Churches Put Roof Over 700 Homeless People During Winter

Tuesday May 1 2018

Two of the women supported by Bethany Care Shelter.

Over 700 people were supported by Bethany Care Shelter in Edinburgh over the winter of 2017-18.

Bethany Christian Trust has reported that 722 men and women used the Winter Care Shelter over the past 28 weeks.

Situated in church venues across the city and the Lothians, the shelter provides a safe place to sleep, a hot meal and a range of support from experienced staff and eight partner agencies.

This year, the small staff and over 1000 volunteers have provided 8260 bed spaces and 11,230 meals. 75 churches have taken part.

Shelter manager Ruth Longmuir said: “The Care Shelter has an incredible amount of support from the churches in Edinburgh and the surrounding areas. We’re greatly indebted to over a thousand volunteers who have turned up night after night, worked hard in the kitchen and spent time chatting with our guests.

“The staff team have also been brilliant; hard-working, caring and full of compassion. We aim to meet people’s immediate needs of food, warmth, shelter and compassionate care but also to assist people to move on from their homeless situation. We’ve had regular visits by medical services, homeless services, agencies that provide support with housing and employment, solicitors and also City of Edinburgh Council housing officers. They’ve all done tremendous work and we’ve seen lots of people get excellent assistance through connections they’ve made at the Care Shelter.”

The shelter began as a two-week pilot programme in 1996, but has grown over the years to span the six and a half months from October to April. In 22 years, over 91,500 bed spaces have been provided.

Bethany’s Director of Operations, Alasdair Bennett, said: “The Care Shelter has been very successful in rapidly re-accommodating people through the multi-disciplinary approach shared by all the statutory and charitable partners involved. The team worked hard to reduce the average length of stay for every person and over 70% of people stayed for 7 nights or less in total. We are hugely indebted to all sectors of society for the support that we have received in order to provide this life-saving safety net to some of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable people over the last 196 nights.”


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