Rough sleepers from as far as Jamaica and Poland have been spotted in the streets of Dundee, as charity bosses call for help to meet a rise in the number of homeless people in the city.
Night Ministry Street Angels and the Eagles Wings Trust have both expressed concerns at a sudden increase of people sleeping on the streets not previously known to the organisations.
Since the end of April, the Night Ministry has helped nine people without roofs over their heads.
Although the charity was able to offer assistance to all of them, Night Ministry’s Gareth Norman, pictured, said attitudes towards the homeless problem needed to change. “This is Dundee, it’s the 21st Century – what’s going on with our society?” he said.
“I have also come across what looks like just some old rags and litter thrown in corner.
“This was actually a rough sleeper’s attempt to get some shelter from the rain. They had used an orange survival bag over an old duvet, sticking their head in under the old fireplace for cover and placing their feet in a thermal shopping bag for warmth.”
Gareth said that on Wednesday night the charity helped two women who needed medical attention.
He added: “Our outreach patrol was kept busy that evening as we gave out lots of hot chocolate drinks, made two new street friends, issued two sleeping bags, cleansed and dressed one girl’s self-harming wounds on both her lower arms and transported another female street beggar to A&E.”
On May 12 Gareth said the team gave hot drinks to two homeless people who were sheltering in a church foyer.
Five days earlier he helped a 47-year-old Jamaican man sleeping on a bench in Riverside Drive who was heading north.
“We were able to supply him with a sleeping bag, hot drinks and advice and directed him to more suitable sheltered location,” he said.
Gareth said that, the day before, he had spoken with three rough sleepers who told him they had been refused assistance from the authorities.
Mike Cordiner, of the Eagles Wings Trust, said: “There seems to be a rise in the number of people coming to Dundee from other areas. I am aware of someone from Jamaica and a person from Poland currently sleeping rough in Dundee.
“If you come from outwith the city the authorities do not find you somewhere to sleep.
“This needs to change.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We understand that being homeless is difficult and traumatic and our aim is to offer a service that is sympathetic as well as meeting our statutory duties.
“When we are contacted the first thing that happens is an assessment interview within three working days, or if a person is ‘roofless’ they will be seen on the same day.”