Charity reports massive increase in calls to its homelessness helpline
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance, Health
Homelessness charity Shelter Scotland says that it has seen a massive increase in the amount of calls it receives from desperate families and individuals.
The charity has reported a 43% increase in call volume over the last three years and is currently handling 60 enquiries a day - up from 42 a day in 2008/09.
Shelter says that stretched household budgets, the impact of welfare reform and increases in the cost of living are putting people at risk of losing their homes, and revealed last month that 5,300 children will be homeless in Scotland on Christmas Day.
Shelter - which receives no government or local authority funding to run the helpline - now says that it desperately needs funds to train housing advisors to offer year-round support to anyone in Scotland facing housing difficulties.
Retailer Marks & Spencer has vowed to donate 5p to the charity’s helpline from every product sold from the Christmas Food in its Move range.
Shelter says if everyone of working age in Scotland bought just one product from M&S during the campaign, it could raise £155,855.45 - enough to help over 15,500 people through its free helpline.
The charity received almost 22,000 calls over 2011/12.
Graeme Brown, Director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Thousands of families and individuals across Scotland face a daily struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. For these people, and many more living on a knife edge, speaking to one of our advisors is a lifeline.
“Sadly in the last three years we’ve seen a staggering 43% increase in the number of people contacting us for help. At the same time we’ve faced some tough challenges in raising money to fund the helpline.
“We are lucky to have eight dedicated advisors who work tirelessly to answer calls and offer much-needed advice – but we need more advisors to help us meet the rising demand. I urge people across Scotland to head to their local M&S and show their support for our vital work.”
Richard Gillies, Director of Plan A, CSR and Sustainable Business at M&S, said: “Our partnership with Shelter Scotland will support this valuable service which clearly helps so many. For our customers and us, it’s really great to know that something as simple as choosing your lunch can make a real difference to people who risk losing their home.”