Public Perceptions

We want to change how homelessness is perceived and understood by the public, the media, statutory services, politicians and other third sector organisations. These guidelines should be used when writing about homelessness and act as a guide to ensure the language we use is not detrimental to the people we are trying to support.

The words and images we use matter. They can lead to stigma and negative perceptions which reinforce the view that homelessness is rooted in personal choice. They have a profound impact on the day to day experiences and interactions of people who are homeless. We know from work carried out in Scotland with people who have lived experience of homelessness that the language and terminology so often used is disliked and contributes to their exclusion. Local authorities, the third sector, the Scottish Government and people with lived experiences would like the view of homelessness to shift to a more modern and evidence-based direction.

This work was and continues to be a collaboration between ourselves and the following organisations: Aberdeen Cyrenians, All in for Change, Bethany Christian Trust, Crisis Scotland, Glasgow City Mission, Homeless Network Scotland, Rock Trust, SeAscape, Scottish Government, Shelter Scotland, Simon Community, Streetworks, Street Soccer, Social Bite, A Way Home Scotland. We would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude to these organisations and we look forward to working closely with them to improve the public perception of homelessness in Scotland.

If you have anything you want to ask, discuss or if you’d like to get involved then please contact our Communication and Engagement Manager, Garry Burns via email at Alternatively, you can reach out to Homeless Action Scotland on its Twitter feed, which will regularly provide information on public perceptions.