Political Correspondent

WOMEN in Glasgow who are facing homelessness face being stuck in a cycle of despair with little hope of a home of their own MSPs have been told

Many women told of their experiences and problems finding support and suitable housing and the issues which leave them trapped in temporary housing or forced to sleep rough..

Holyrood’s Local Government and Communities Committee spoke to several women at Govanhill Women’s Service to hear the problems have led to them being at risk of being homeless and the barriers they face to getting their life back on track.

The MSPs heard from people working with homeless people what support is offered in trying to find permanent homes and legal advice where it is needed.

As part of its inquiry into homelessness the committee will hear evidence for a range of organisations with an interest in homelessness but beforehand wanted to hear first-hand experiences of people who have lived through it.

They were told that homelessness is still a serious problem facing many people in Glasgow and solutions are still needed.

The MSPs also visited the Simon Community’s supported accommodation unit in the south side of the city.

Lorraine McGrath, Chief Executive of the Simon Community in Glasgow, said we must learn from the experience of people who have been or are at risk of becoming homeless.

She 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.”

Bob Doris, Committee Convenor, said what they heard would help determine how the committee deals with housing issues in the future.

The issue raised by women at the centres in Glasgow included addiction issues, sexual abuse and mental illness.

He 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.”

He said the MSPs had learned for what they had heard

“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.”

The committee will take evidence at two sessions in the Scottish Parliament later this month.

before then the Committee members will also visit Edinburgh and Perth to hear from people in those cities.