GLASGOW has the fewest rough sleepers of any European city, a Scottish charity has announced, as the organisation revealed plans to help the homeless this winter.  

Simon Community Scotland (SCS) outlined its plans to help Glasgow's homeless over the coming months, which will include offering thermals and shelter to those most in need while raising awareness of tell-tale signs of hypothermia. 

The charity says that an annual multi-agency response is coordinated with other organisations including the police, Help Homeless Glasgow, City Mission, Lodging House Mission, The Marie Trust and Phoenix Pharmacy.

In a statement, SCS’s director of services and development Hugh Hill wrote: “We all come together to coordinate care with dignity for people experiencing the most challenges and vulnerabilities. We do that by sharing what we know about risks people face in our community, we direct resources to those most at risk, provide accommodation and - when that is not available - thermal protection.

“Throughout last year, Glasgow had less than 10 people sleeping rough on the streets, often as low as 4 at any one time with the street team and partners actively working to prevent 30 people a week from having to sleep outdoors. That is still 4 too many and we are working hard to find the right solution to each and every one of them. However, there is no European city that has achieved such low numbers.”

Commenting on the announcement, SNP MP Bob Doris said: “This fantastic achievement is a credit to the tireless work of the Simon Community and other charitable organisations, working in partnership with my SNP colleagues in Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government.

“Ending homelessness is a national priority for the SNP and while Glasgow’s achievement is a significant one that we must celebrate, the SNP is not complacent about the challenges ahead both in Glasgow and across Scotland. In Scotland, one rough sleeper is one too many.

“The pandemic showed us that rapid change can be made and I’m delighted to see Glasgow learning from this to become a shining example, working towards that target of ending homelessness in Scotland.”

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A Glasgow City Council spokesperson said: “It's remarkable. Prior to lockdown, we were seeing around 25-30 rough sleepers. There are now 4-5 people who we know consistently sleep rough despite almost daily approaches by staff from various agencies. We know who they are and we continue to engage with them despite their absolute reluctance for help or support."