Homeless in Edinburgh

Homeless in Edinburgh

What does it mean to be homeless in Edinburgh?

Being homeless in Edinburgh has its own challenges when compared to a city like Manchester. For reference, Pledge works to help people who are homeless in both Edinburgh and Manchester.

The average temperature in Edinburgh can regularly reach as low as 1 degree, and even lower. This drop in temperature creates a huge risk for someone who is outdoors and living on the street overnight. 

Just like most places across the country, Edinburgh has seen a rise in homelessness, but that has also meant tons of new initiates helping those most in need, and we’ll come to that later.

Defining homeless and rough sleeping

Defining the terms homeless and rough sleeping should be as simple of searching Google to find the definition, but it’s not. When looking at complex social situations such as someone who is either homeless of rough sleeping, it’s essential to take into account not all circumstances are the same.

Personal circumstances, which, a lot of the time cannot be truly understood by a professional, can have a massive influence on a person circumstance. 


Homelessness: “Sleeping rough, not having rights to stay where you live or are living in unsuitable housing, such as a B&B, with friends or a hostel.”

Rough sleeping: “people sleeping or bedded down in the street, doorways, parks or bus shelters.”

What’s being done to reduce homelessness across Edinburgh?

A new initiative commissioned by the City of Edinburgh Council and run by Crisis, plan to help people who are currently homeless in Edinburgh to find and keep a home in the Private Rented Sector (PRS).

Help to Rent Edinburgh, which was launched in March, is directly linked to the council mean that referrals are done through housing officers and are aimed at people who are homeless or rough sleeping.

There is a set criteria, just like any scheme and you can be referred to the scheme if you are a family, couple or single person who:

  • has been assessed as homeless by City of Edinburgh Council
  • has a local connection to Edinburgh
  • wants a private let (in or outside Edinburgh)
  • is not excluded from Housing Benefit (for immigration reasons)
  • can commit to saving up your own deposit over time, once you’re housed
  • can manage a private let, with or without support

Crisis, the charity has a big part of this scheme, and they’re providing help to getting people trained in IT skills, and practical things, like how to save and how to communicate with a landlord.

How does Pledge help people who are homeless in Edinburgh?

Pledge is a registered charity, and we aim to support those who are homeless to live a long and fulfilling life. We do this by providing grants, for items such as clothing, bed sheets when moving into accommodation, and bus passes when someone moves to full-time employment. 

We’re new to Edinburgh, but we’re just getting started. There is a lot that can be learned by exchanging experience with like-minded organisations and people between Manchester and Edinburgh. As Pledge is registered in Edinburgh, it’s naturally a place we care about, and we’re looking forward to continuing to develop partnerships in the great city.

We’re looking to expand our connections in Edinburgh and looking to talk to charities and social enterprises who would be interested in applying to our funds, which have the aim of reducing poverty with those who are homeless or rough sleeping.

How you can help people in Edinburgh

Most people care about their community, primarily if you work where you live and get to see the current state of homelessness across Edinburgh throughout your day to day travels.

There are food provisions for those in need every day of the week, so nobody on the street is going hungry. You can help someone who is homeless by treating them like a fellow human, stop and talk and ask them how they are, and if they’re accessing services.

The next thing you can do to help someone who is homeless is to support a locally registered charity, such as Pledge. Our year-round work is to provide essentials to those most in need, and we can’t do it without your help. Making your own impact is easy, and you can choose three different ways to help:

Take part in a sponsored run or trek

Whether you like running, cycling, obstacle courses or swimming, getting fit for charity has never felt so good, and you can do it and raise money for charity.


Don’t have time on your side? Making a one-off or monthly donation can provide help to those in need, your donation will help fund & support our year-round work with those living in poverty.


There is a lot of fantastic work being doing in Edinburgh, and the council is taking a proactive approach for ending homelessness. The complex nature of homelessness means that it’s a minefield for anyone new to the topic. There are lots of great charities that are committed to helping reduce the number of people who are rough sleeping and homeless, and there are more resources than ever in Edinburgh. 

We can only make a difference if we work together, support each other and where local concerned citizens support a local charity.

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