MUSICIAN Alasdair Codona is days away from death as he starves himself in a bid to change Scotland’s homeless laws.

The 51-year-old is on the 23rd day of a hunger strike, and is camped outside the Scottish Parliament in protest at the way local authorities treat those without a roof over their head.

Codona wants to make the way someone applies for help when homeless much simpler. He says councils are making the process deliberately difficult, and often treating people with contempt in a bid to stop them asking for help.

“I want the legal right of an individual to present themselves as homeless and fill an application form. It’s that simple,” Codona told The National.

This he says, would get away, with the “pre-chats” which, the musician claims, can see local authorities dismissing a person’s application without knowing the full circumstances.

“What’s happening at the moment is there’s a whole lot of discriminatory behaviour which means the forms are not completed or never commenced.”

He adds: “Dealing with homeless people costs money and every time they turn someone away it’s saving them time and money.”

Codona became homeless at the end of 2012 after struggling to find work and says he received “truly appalling treatment” from Glasgow City Council.

After picking up work on a tour, he came back to Glasgow and had to check himself into the city’s notorious Bellgrove Hotel, a homeless hostel known for poor living conditions. He was then placed into temporary accommodation and now has a permanent home.

The 51-year-old, who taught Gaelic music in schools on Uist and Barra, and who has performed at Celtic Connections, says he is starting to feel the effect of having only taken water since December 7: “It’s very strange. It suddenly feels like you’re projected to the age of 96. Standing up has you just gasping for breath. You’re weak and you’re tired all the time.”

He says the real concern will be next week, at the 30-day point.

Ewan Gurr, a friend of Codona, and the Scotland food bank network manager for The Trussell Trust, begged the government to listen to the protester.

“Alasdair epitomises the length some people experiencing the grinding daily existence of poverty feel they must go to to be heard. Like many, he is an educated and eloquent man who has worked and lived sustainably throughout his life.

“Despite direct experience of homelessness, his campaigning efforts over the last three years on issues around housing and homelessness have yielded little success and he now feels his only option is to take his message to the Scottish Parliament throughout Christmas and the New Year.”

Gurr added: “It is crucial that we listen and truly hear experiences Alasdair and others have to share about a system they feel is predisposed to de-mobilise those it is there to mobilise.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Tackling homelessness is of the utmost importance to us and we work hard to ensure everyone has access to a warm and safe place to stay.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to solving homelessness as there are many different reasons for people becoming homeless. We are proud that Scotland’s legislation and preventative approach means that everyone has a right to a home and we provide temporary accommodation for everyone while they wait for appropriate permanent accommodation – accommodation that is of a similar quality to permanent accommodation.

“The most visible aspect of homelessness is those who sleep rough, and we are working with stakeholders to ensure we have better information to help address this issue. We recognise that some rough sleeping may result from complex needs that require more than just providing accommodation, so we are working with partners across health and social services to ensure better support to people in this position.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “This individual last engaged with our homelessness services in June 2013 when he was able to secure a permanent tenancy with a local housing association.

“If he has since abandoned this tenancy then he should present as homeless and he will receive a service.”