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Naewey tae bide

It’s impossible tae unnerstaund fit it feels like tae hae naewey tae bide. But, juist shut yer een; tak a meentie tae imaigine foo it maun feel tae nae hae a comfy sofa tae come hame an park yer bahookie on efter a lang, haurd day; nae telly tae watch daft programmes on whilst ye ham in tae yer warm maet keukit in a convenient kitchen ben the hoose. Think fit it maun be like tae nae hae a cosy bed far ye can pit yer heid doun fan ye want naething mair than a decent kip.

Sadly, for a lairge nummer o Scots fowk, they dinna hae tae imaigine this scenario because it’s their reality. In 2016-17, there wis mair than 34,000 hameless applications made in Scotland. Aamaist the same amoont o fowk fa mak up the population o Fawkirk or Stirlin. A hertbraken nummer.

Things div seem tae be gettin a wee bittie better, fooiver, compare’t tae 2005-6, fan this nummer reached ower 60,000. The raison for this could pairtially be that fowk seem tae be becomin mair conscious aboot the problem. Ah hiv certainly seen a chynge in attitudes taewart hameless fowk sin ah wis a young quinie.

Ae chiel fa, ah believe, haes haen a grand impact on motivatin mair fowk tae help the hameless in the North-East, an beyond, ower the past few ’ear, is Gordon Cruden. Back in the winter o 2015, the Brocher decidit tae embark on a thirty-day ‘Hungry for the Homeless’ challenge. This involved spendin a month bidin on the streets o Embra, Cardiff, Dublin, Belfast an London wi nae siller, maet, bed or shelter. Ower the duration o his challenge, Cruden shared the stories o mony o the fowk he met alang the wey, fa war left wi naewey but a cauld street tae caa hame, on social media. Mony a time he explaint juist foo little it teuk for them tae end up on the streets, an it wis a harsh reminder tae aa fa read his posts juist hou guid ye’v got it if ye hae a ruif abuin yer heid, an foo easily it could aa be taen awa fae ye.

The reaction tae these stories, whilk left ye fit tae greet, wis outstaundin. By the end o his thirty days on the streets, Cruden haed thoosands o fowk follaein him on Facebook, an ah ken for a fact that mony fowk fae roond aboot the North-East nou see them fa ar bidin on the streets fae a different perspective. A braw example o foo juist ae person can mak a gigantic difference.

There wis also anither event haudit in the capital this ’ear, wi the intention o shinin some licht on fit life is like for the hameless. On the 9t o December 2017, mair than 8,000 fowk slept roch on Princes Street Gairdens, raisin juist ower fower million pound tae help the hameless fowk o Scotland. Whilst this o coorse is a fantastic achievement, there haes been some criticism o the event, the name o whilk, ‘Sleep in the Park’, hints tae it bein a glorified muisic festival; an tae a point, that’s fit it wis. Nae dout that haein the likes o Liam Gallagher an Amy Macdonald performin tae those fa war able tae gie £100 or mair wis a great incentive tae raise funds, but ah canna help thinkin that this approach unnermine’t the hale issue o hamelessness tae an extent. Nae haein somewey tae bide is sae much mair uncouthie than haein a jolly tae the park wi yer chums tae watch warld-famous singers an be served bacon rolls by Rob Brydon.

The £100 minimum donation also left me feelin dishertit aboot the hale shebang, as ah felt that fowk fa mebbe couldna afford tae help oot by donatin as muckle, shouldna hae been left oot. In fact, ah think it wad be a fantastic idea if they lat fowk fa ar registert as hameless jyne in, sae that they could mingle an share their experiences wi fowk fa care aboot helpin them. There’s nae denyin that it’s a fantastic idea tae haud an event whilk raises sae much awaurness and siller for fowk ’ithoot a hame. Ah div believe, fooiver, that a haundfu o tweaks should be made, tae aither mak it mair realistic o the challenge o bidin on the streets, or mair inclusive aathegither.

Aatho the nummer o fowk ’ithoot hames daes seem tae be drappin, an mair an mair fowk ar daein their bittie tae help, the issue o hamelessness continues tae exist in Scotland. Gordon Cruden, fa nou rins twa residential centres in the North-East for fowk fa ar strugglin, is a role-model for onybody fa wants tae dae something tae help them fa dinna even hae a place tae caa hame.

O coorse ye dinna hae tae stairt wi a challenge as difficult as his ane tae mak a difference. But fan ye’r lyin cosy tucked up unner the duvet the nicht, mebbe think tae yersel if ye can spare a pound or twa, or even a few meenties o yer time, tae mak somebody fa haes naething’s day.

Social media thumbnail image: not everyone is taking in the historic sights by byronv2. Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0.