The independent London newspaper

Support for homeless Scots in London

23 December, 2017


Homelessness in London continues to rise. Statistics show that 8,096 people were seen rough sleeping last year – an increase of over 50% in five years. Borderline’s research has found that Scots represent 12% of the UK homeless population in the city.

The research also indicated that the majority of its clients were in Westminster, so Borderline developed the Scottish Outreach Worker project based at the Connection at St-Martin-in-the-Fields, which this past year supported 59 clients, nearly four times their original target of helping 15 homeless Scots.

One of these 59 clients was Paul:

Paul suffered years of abuse by a partner which led him to experience severe anxiety. When he finally walked out of the relationship he had lost contact with his family and friends. With nowhere to turn, Paul then started sleeping on the streets.

He was found by a local outreach team who referred him to Borderline’s Scottish Outreach Worker., who arranged for him to be allocated a bed at the YMCA where Borderline has access to rooms.

With support from Borderline, Paul gradually gained confidence. He was given a room, volunteered at the YMCA and in time moved into a flat of his own.

Paul said: “Borderline gave me one hundred percent support and they were with me all of the way. I don’t know what I would have done without them.”

Borderline is the only charity dedicated to helping vulnerable homeless or insecurely housed Scots in and around London. It was founded in 1990, continuing the work of its predecessor, the Church of Scotland London Advisory Service (COSLAS). Its vision is that every Scot in London will have a home and receive the support they need to lead a healthy, independent life.

The organisation offers a range of services providing information, advice, advocacy, birth certificates for identification, accommodation and an outreach worker service. Clients can also receive financial grants for clothing, home starter packs, access to mental health support, career coaching and referrals to specialist projects.

As part of its housing service, Borderline has priority access to rooms at a London YMCA hostel. Clients are offered specialist support services to improve employability through education, training and work experience, as well as independent living skills such as cooking and budgeting. This project can help 12 Scots a year, at a cost of £665 per person.

You can help homeless Scots in London – visit

Share this story

Post a comment