Officials claim action during pandemic has worked
A Scottish Government claim only 11 people are sleeping rough on Scotland’s streets has been rubbished by a homelessness charity.
The response was made as part of a freedom of information request by housing campaigner Sean Clerkin after officials said schemes to take people off the streets during lockdown had worked.
But Homeless Project Scotland said there were at least 11 sleeping rough in Glasgow alone, ridiculing the claim.
Colin McInnes, the charity’s chairman, said: “I think the number could be more than 100.
“Last Friday night, we fed 240 people at our soup kitchen in Glasgow. What we see on the streets suggests there are more than 11 rough sleepers in Glasgow, never mind Scotland.
“My message to all politicians is, ‘Come out and see with your own eyes what is going on in our streets.’
“These people are broken, need support and to feel love and compassion. As far as I am concerned, there is no love, compassion and support being shown to homeless people.”
Homeless people have been put up in hotels and B&Bs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Shelter and Crisis, warn this is only a short-term solution and an urgent plan is needed to find suitable housing for the homeless when hotels and B&Bs reopen to the public.
Shelter Scotland director Alison Watson said: “Our focus now is on ensuring we never go back to the days when an estimated 500 people slept rough on any given night in Scotland.
“Scotland’s homelessness legislation is some of the strongest in the world and means councils have a duty to accommodate those they have reason to believe are homeless. That’s the law.
“It was the law and it remains the law but it was broken frequently, especially in Glasgow and Edinburgh.”
Crisis chief executive Jon Sparkes said action taken during the pandemic has led to a massive reduction in the number of people sleeping rough across Scotland.
“But, while rapid responses by national and local government, as well as homelessness services, saved lives from both coronavirus and the cold, many of these interventions represent short-term solutions,” he said.
“There are now record numbers of Scots living in temporary accommodation, with many people being left without access to proper laundry or cooking facilities. We now need to see action to ensure these people are supported quickly into safe and settled homes.”