MSPs meet Glasgow’s female homeless community

MSPs SCSGlasgow women facing a life on the streets met with MSPs from the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee when they visited Simon Community Scotland and Legal Services Agency yesterday.

By speaking to women in housing crisis, and frontline street team staff, the MSPs explored how people are accessing homelessness services and legal support in Glasgow.

As part of the visit, committee members met with women at Govanhill Women’s Service and Maxwell Drive Women’s Service. Many of the women have faced addiction issues, sexual abuse and mental health difficulties.

Committee convener Bob Doris MSP said: “It was really valuable for us to hear directly from people who are facing a life on the streets in Glasgow.

“As part of our research into homelessness in Scotland, we want to hear from men and women who are at risk of being homeless and how this could potentially be prevented. We also want to explore the legal advice and assistance given to vulnerable people who might find it difficult to get support.

“What we’ve learnt from the visit will help to shape the committee’s work in scrutinising housing matters in the future.”

Simon Community Scotland, which is a charity based in Glasgow and has residential accommodation across the city, works to combat the causes and effects of homelessness.

Chief executive Lorraine McGrath said: “Homelessness in Scotland is far from fixed and too many people have nowhere safe to live, remain stuck in system of temporary solutions or are unable to access the support they need. We are really pleased that it is the voices of the people who experience the harm, exclusion and misery of homelessness and rough sleeping that will influence the work of the Committee and Scottish Parliament, as a direct result of the MSPs taking the time to listen to their views today.”

This is the second visit the committee has undertaken as part of its research into homelessness, after MSPs met with Edinburgh’s homeless community at Streetwork last week.

MSPs will also visit the Churches Action For The Homeless charity in early March to explore issues relating to homelessness in rural Perth and Kinross.

The committee will consider how best to take forward its research into homelessness at evidence sessions later in that month.

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