A WOMAN who spent six weeks sleeping rough in Scotland’s biggest city remained in hospital last night after a charity helped her off the streets.
The woman, who cannot be named due to sensitivities surrounding her case, had to bed down right in the heart of Glasgow with her partner despite being “very unwell” after they lost their accommodation.
The pair set up their sleeping bags on Argyle Street under the Heilanman’s Umbrella, the nickname given to the glass-sided railway bridge that serves Glasgow Central Station in the city centre.
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Workers from Glasgow City Mission, which supports vulnerable people and operates the only winter night shelter in the city, helped the pair find somewhere to stay on Monday, but the woman had to be taken to hospital as a result of health problems.
Yesterday the charity hit out at the extent of the homelessness problem, which sees an estimated 40 people sleep rough each night and around 6,000 homelessness applications made to the council in 2015-16.
This is against a national backdrop of almost 34,700 homeless applications made during the same period, most of which are made by young, single men from white Scottish backgrounds.
Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee launched a call for written evidence on the issue earlier this month as it works to assess efforts to tackle the complex drivers which cause homelessness. The call came two months after 21-year-old Matthew Bloomer was found dead outside a department store less than half a mile from where the unwell woman and her partner slept.
Taking office yesterday, Susan Aitken, the new leader of Glasgow City Council, vowed to set up a specialist task force to “eradicate unintentional homeless” in the city with a housing and homelessness summit planned within the first 100 days of the SNP’s term.
Aitken said: “We have all been disappointed by the ongoing levels of homelessness in Glasgow.
"While the reasons for homelessness are complex and not the result of council policies, we are determined to do all that we can.
Graham Steven of Glasgow City Mission said this must be a priority for the minority administration.
He added: “As a city, as a nation, we should not be witnessing what we are witnessing in 2017. The lack of suitable accommodation in the city is a major issue – there are not enough one-bed flats for single men.
"Then there is the need for support to allow people to continue these tenancies.
“A lot of the people we work with have experienced abuse, have been in the care system, have been in prison, have mental health or addictions issues.
“It’s a really complex problem that doesn’t have easy solutions.”