Investigative journalism platform The Ferret (theferret.scot) has today launched a new crowdfund to resource a major investigation into problems of housing and homelessness in Scotland, chosen by the public.
A public vote resulted in the choice of the topic, and there were calls for The Ferret to scrutinise issues from the lack of affordable housing to the number of vulnerable people homeless.
Ferret journalist director Rachel Hamada said: “You voted and you told us you wanted us to look into housing and homelessness; there is a housing crisis, with buildings standing empty when people are sleeping on the streets or in temporary accommodation.
“In this uncertain economic climate we are all vulnerable – and we could all go from looking for our dream homes one minute to looking for a roof over our heads the next.”
The Ferret is asking for £4400 to investigate the subject in depth – a previous crowdfund into fracking raised over £9000 and resulted in hard-hitting stories into plans for fracking and underground coal gasification in Scotland. Many of these plans were then dropped.
We also raised enough money to look into refugee and asylum issues in Scotland, resulting in several awards for our photographic and multimedia work, featuring the voices and stories of people directly affected by these issues.
The Ferret has also reported on a range of other subjects, from surveillance society to employment, and from wildlife crime to human rights, from lobbying in Scotland to on-the-ground reporting in Iraq.
Ferret journalist director Peter Geoghegan said: “The last time we did a crowdfunder, back in the summer of 2015, the public were really receptive and really generous. They gave us almost three times what we asked for and it allowed us to do a major investigation into fracking.
“We were also able to do a series of other stories off the back of it, including asylum, and other stories we thought were important, needed to be told and might not have been told elsewhere if we didn’t cover them.”
Ferret chair Rob Edwards said: “People ask us to do things, then they give us the money to do them, which makes us very happy! But it’s very important, so that we can look into important social issues such as housing and homelessness. It means we can expose what’s going on, and hopefully even change things.”
According to writer Irvine Welsh: “If there is one thing local, national and international events continually hammer home, it’s the importance of genuinely independent investigative journalism to the health of our ailing democracies.
“The Ferret, by relentlessly exposing the truth and holding power to account… needs and deserves our support.”
The campaign has also been supported by Glasgow Girl and human rights campaigner Amal Azzudin and Scottish PEN’s Nik Williams.
You can see the crowdfund page at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-ferret-investigates-housing-homelessness/x/11158527#/