Recently published figures show that 195 homeless people are thought to have died in 2018 in Scotland – nearly four a week – up 19% from the estimate of 164 in 2017 and a proportionally higher number of homeless deaths than elsewhere in the UK.

These figures add to the already bleak picture of drug-related deaths in Scotland. 1,187 people lost their lives to a preventable fatal drug overdose in 2018 a rise of 27% from 2017, and the highest since records began in 1996. Scotland’s drug death rate is now nearly three times that of the UK as a whole, and is higher than any other EU country.

Such figures are a stark reminder of the desperate circumstances of many Street Connect participants when we first meet them. Working at Street Connect over the past few years I’ve been struck by how often this comes up when participants share their stories; the crisis point when participants recognised that something had to change, that a cross road on their journey had been reached and that continuing along the same route would have disastrous consequences.

“My life had become very chaotic and I did not see a way out. I knew I had to try something different or I was going to die” said one participant.

“My past situation was if I didn’t start to detox down from my methadone I was left with three options 1. Rehab 2. Jail 3. Death.” said another.

If people do receive appropriate guidance and support at that crisis point – someone to point them the right way – maybe someone who themselves been down this route before – then it can be a turning point, a change in direction, the start of a new, hope filled journey towards recovery and life.

In many Christian traditions the period of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter commemorate another crucial journey and turning point- Jesus’s journey into the desert, where he spent 40 days fasting and was tempted by the devil, before beginning his life transforming ministry. Traditionally Lent is a time of prayer, penance and fasting – giving something up for Lent – as we journey towards Easter, when we particularly remember Jesus’s death and resurrection.

This Lent Street Connect are asking supporters to join our Give Up, Give Away Lent Journey.

Twice a week throughout Lent those who take part will receive an email with opportunities to participate in prayer, action, giving and reflection. Journeying together we will think about the desperate needs that are shown in the increasing numbers of deaths of those are homeless and those who are caught up in drug addictions. And we will also consider, how, by working prayerfully together we can make a difference, by being there at the crisis point and helping people head in a new direction.

This blog post was written by Andrew Pont, Business Manager at Street Connect.

Mar 10, 2000


Submit a Comment