Public asked to help tackle the misery of homelessness

Homless rough sleeper

Consultation looks to solve Scotland's rough sleeping problem 

3rd May 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

MSPs are asking the Scottish public for ideas on how to tackle the "misery of homelessness" blighting the country.

Holyrood's Local Government and Communities Committee wants to find out more about why people are forced onto the streets and the services available to them work effectively.

The committee has issued a call for evidence, and plans to look at international homelessness policies in a bid to help vulnerable Scots.

They've visited homeless men and women in emergency accommodation and shelters here in Glasgow and in Edinburgh and Perthshire.

Committee convener Bob Doris said: "Everyone deserves to have a safe place that they can call home.

"However, on the committee's visits to homeless shelters across Scotland, we heard that many still face the misery of homelessness and rough sleeping in our cities and rural areas.

"The homeless people we met said that relationship breakdowns, disruptive family life or mental health issues were the main reasons for their lives spiralling out of control - leading to a chaotic life on the streets or sofa-surfing with nowhere Homelessness charity appeal to Glasgow businesses to act as collection points.

"We now want to hear views on a wide variety of housing and homelessness issues across Scotland. For example, how can we better support those with multiple or complex needs who are in danger of losing their homes? And is emergency accommodation meeting the needs of those desperately in search for shelter and support?

"Our committee also want to explore best practice internationally when it comes to tackling homelessness.

"For example, in Finland the housing first model aims to offer housing as quickly as possible. The idea being that once the person has a stable home, they can address issues that caused them to be at risk of homelessness in the first place."

Homeless charity Simon Community Scotland volunteer Eddie, 61, was homeless for two years after the death of his partner led to a nervous breakdown, called on homeless people to contact the committee with their views.

He said he felt suicidal after he found his partner dead from a heart attack in their home.

He said: "Looking back now, I know that I rushed into a new relationship out of grief and it was the wrong thing to do.

"I ended up inheriting my new partner's debts and this eventually led to me having a nervous breakdown.

"I was at a really low point in my life. I was drinking a lot and had suicidal thoughts.

"I lost my home, my family, and felt completely isolated. I was put into temporary accommodation miles away from where I'm from and this just made my feelings of loneliness and desperation worse."

Eddie, now living in Lanarkshire, said working for the charity has given him his life back.

He added: "I'd encourage homeless people, groups and the general public to send across their views to the Holyrood committee .

"This is a chance for your voice to be heard."

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