Leader comment: Here’s why ending rough sleeping is a moral imperative

Police in East London Street in Edinburgh's New Town where a homeless man died after a bitterly cold night (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
Police in East London Street in Edinburgh's New Town where a homeless man died after a bitterly cold night (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
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People ran to try to help, but it was too late. The life of a man sleeping rough among the million-pound properties of Edinburgh’s New Town on a bitterly cold night was at an end.

While it remains unclear whether the man was homeless and regularly sleeping on the streets, his death adds to a grim tally in Scotland’s capital. According to council figures, ten men and eight women died while sleeping on the streets in the year to March 2016, a rate of more than one every three weeks.

READ MORE: One homless person ‘dying every 3 weeks’ in Edinburgh

For all the talk of austerity, Scotland is still a well-off country; it should be able to look after the relatively small numbers of people who find themselves, for whatever reason, without a roof over their heads.

Social Bite, which started as a charitable sandwich shop, says it is “on a mission to end homelessness in Scotland” and it has been making impressive progress.

Its Sleep in the Park event raised £3 million, which will be used to provide homes for 600 rough sleepers.

One small charity has shown us the way. A collective effort by society as a whole could bring its noble mission to a swift conclusion.

The sooner, the better. For somewhere on a cold pavement, time is running out for another human being.

READ MORE: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle urge Social Bite to launch across UK