A CHARITY that supports homeless people in Glasgow is warning of potential deaths on the streets if more support is not given to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The official Scottish and UK Government advice to stop any potential outbreak of the deadly 
COVID-19 disease is to regularly wash your hands – and even self-isolate yourself if you are showing symptoms.

But those two options are virtually impossible for our city’s rough sleepers, volunteers at Help The Homeless Glasgow are now warning.

They are appealing directly to the public and business leaders to widen their mindset and consider those on the streets.

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It comes as stores up and down the country are left with empty shelves, with people stock-piling soaps, hand sanitizer, wipes and toilet paper.

Helen McMillan, who helps run the charity, told the Glasgow Times: “There is a need to wash our hands and things like that – but there’s been no information on what homeless people can or should do.

“We clearly have more access to things than rough sleepers, so how can we help them?

“We deal with a lot of people on the street and chest infections are so common, and that’s part of the worry.

“They might not survive something like this – more should be done to help them.”

It comes as two more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Scotland, with one of those in Greater Glasgow – bringing the total to three in Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 18 in Scotland.

A total of 273 people were confirmed to have contracted the condition by 9am on Sunday, which is 67 more than Saturday.
Glasgow Times: Hand wash stocks run low at Asda ToryglenHand wash stocks run low at Asda Toryglen
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Ms McMillan hit out at the Scottish Government after finding no direct mention of the homeless community within their 28-page coronavirus action plan.

And her fears were echoed by Sean Clerkin of the Scottish Tenants Organisation, who wrote a letter to the First Minister calling on “immediate guidance” for rough sleepers who he says “are more at risk” due to “underlying health conditions”.

He said: “It’s very important to provide emergency accommodation with beds and washing facilities for rough sleepers.

“Through helping the homeless we are also protecting the general population.”

On Friday, Help The Homeless Glasgow handed out wipes and hand sanitizer to people on the streets, but worry it is not enough.
Glasgow Times: Three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Greater Glasgow and ClydeThree cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Greater Glasgow and Clyde
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Ms McMillan added: “These are people who can’t self-isolate and have limited access to facilities to wash their hands.

“We’re looking to make people aware that it’s not just your average person who needs to take extra care, but homeless people too – and these are the people who really don’t have easy access to vital things like handwashing.”

She added that despite normally receiving fantastic responses to appeals, so far no-one has come forward with donations to help. 

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are working closely with local authorities to support all vulnerable groups, including homeless people, and are considering what additional measures we need to put in place to address their needs.

"As part of this, we have also been working directly with our frontline partners to see what additional measures can be put in place to address the needs of people who are sleeping rough. 

"The Housing Minister and Public Health Minister are meeting to discuss the issue with key partners at a meeting of the Homelessness a Prevention and Strategy Group on Tuesday."