ORGANISERS at a charity for homeless people in Glasgow have warned there will be an increased number of deaths on our streets this year.

The comments came as more than 100 people slept rough on Sauchiehall Street on Saturday to raise awareness for the “terrible” crisis in the city.

An estimated 117 people lined the busy street in their sleeping bags as part of the Help the Homeless Glasgow annual sleepout – which also acted as a “life-saving” sleeping bag donation drive for the charity.

The event aimed to provide everyday locals with a taste of just how difficult life can be for rough sleepers during the cold winter months – with temperatures on the night dropping to just above freezing.

“It’s a scary, scary place to be,” said Anton Reilly – one of the organisers at Help the Homeless, Glasgow (HtHG).

READ MORE: Reporter Jack Aitchison sleeps on Glasgow's streets alongside volunteers from Help the Homeless Glasgow

“If you’re sitting down there are fights going on around you and you’re cold, tired, lonely, and scared.

“It’s a horrible place to be. I know a lot of people who have been through it, it’s a tough life.”

Anton believes that Glasgow City Council “aren’t doing much” and are allowing groups like HtHG “to take over”.

Glasgow Times: Volunteers during Saturday's sleep-outVolunteers during Saturday's sleep-out

He added: “If it wasn’t for groups like us, I don’t think the public would really know what’s happening in the streets, so it’s really important to do events like this to raise awareness and get more people involved.”

Earlier this month we told how official statistics from Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership revealed that 45 homeless people died in the city last year.

But Anton continued: “I think there will be more homeless deaths this year.

“They’ve cut loads of beds in Glasgow alone, total cutbacks. It’s a joke basically.

“The homeless crisis is terrible in Glasgow. The council says they have a programme in place but that programme clearly is not working.”

Comedian Gary Faulds was among those who slept out for the event – as well as keeping everyone’s spirits high throughout the night.

It was the second sleepout in a month for Gary, after he and Anton slept rough back in November.

He told Glasgow Times: “This is minimal compared to what the homeless people have to go through, but it’s still a good experience.

“When I went home the last time I was absolutely knackered. But I got to go to my house, a big warm house, big bed, but my head was in overtime – you’re thinking about people in the street, they’ll still be on the street.

“You can’t change the world but I think getting involved with charities like this, you can raise awareness and with the profile I’ve been gifted with, I should be doing things like this.”

Also among the volunteer was 14-year-old Aidan Sweeney from the east end.

Aidan has helped out with HtHG for three years – something he says has helped him become more sociable.

Shy at first, Aidan is now hands-on with volunteering, helping provide clothes, warm food and drinks to those in need.

He said: “I’m doing this to build up my own confidence.

READ MORE: The Halliday Foundation's charity sleep out helps raise thousands to help Glasgow's homeless

“It feels good, people should really try it, it’s something that helps you as well as other people.

“It helps build your confidence up and gets you more socialising with other people. It’s a whole big family here. Everyone here is family, you can always rely on everyone.”

Glasgow Times spent the duration of the night taking part along with the rest of the group.

During the night the participants experienced rain, near-freezing conditions, the noise of a fire alarm going off for around two hours and the constant flow of drunken youngsters making their way to and from nightclubs.

Glasgow Times: Volunteers slept on Glasgow's streets through the nightVolunteers slept on Glasgow's streets through the night

Gerry Williamson, 38, from Motherwell was one of the over-100 people taking part to raise awareness.

He said: “It was an eye-opener.

We did some food distribution and saw some of the adversities people face…the real hardship.

“By that time the weather had tapered off a bit, but earlier on when it was raining it was more hard-hitting – to think people would be out here not just for a few hours but it’s their life. That’s when it becomes more of a sobering thought.”

Christine Mailer, 62, also took part.

She told the Glasgow Times: “I wanted to see what it was like, and it was hellish. It was an eye-opener. You see homeless people all the time…but it was very cold, miserable and sore.

“We get to go home, I’m going to a warm house.

READ MORE: Charities warn of homelessness deaths in Glasgow as temperatures plummet

“I couldn’t do this again, definitely not straight after tonight. I certainly couldn’t get up and wander about the streets for a day and try find a place safe to say, I just couldn’t imagine it.”

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The significant problems Glasgow faces in dealing with homelessness are well documented. The city is feeling the effects of welfare reform particularly acutely and the number of individuals affected by poor mental health or drug addiction is far greater than any other part of the country.

“However, the HSCP delivers services and support to literally thousands of people every day – accommodating individuals and families in 1,850 temporary furnished flats and 900 other units at any one time. It spent approximately £26 million on temporary homeless accommodation last year.

“It also works closely with third sector partners to help a much smaller number of people who do not access these services and is adopting a rapid rehousing approach in an effort to meet not only the housing  but underlying needs of homeless households.”

Help the Homeless Glasgow provide clothes, warm food and drink to the city’s rough sleepers every fortnight.

You can find out more about the group by visiting ‘Help The Homeless Glasgow’ on Facebook or @HTH_Glasgow on Twitter.