WITH the clocks changing and the nights fair drawing in, I can’t help but shake the feeling that winter is suddenly very much upon us once again.

As the temperature drops and eyes turn towards Christmas, one of the issues that is very much at the forefront of my mind is the growing homelessness crisis we see across our communities in Glasgow.

It is tragic to see people sleeping rough and without a roof over their heads in 21st-century Glasgow, yet we are seeing precious little action from those in charge in the City Chambers and the Scottish Parliament to go about getting a grip on this issue.

Last week, Edinburgh City Council decided the situation in the capital had gotten so bad, it had no option but to declare a housing emergency, which received cross-party support.

This was something that was called for by charities such as Shelter Scotland as well as by my colleague Miles Briggs MSP.

It should never have reached the point where the council felt that declaring an emergency was the only way to get SNP-Green ministers to listen.

And I hope they listen, because the situation in Glasgow is just as perilous and threatening to spiral out of control.

Having worked closely with fantastic charities such as Homeless Project Scotland – which I met only this week to find out about its latest priorities – I know how many individuals and volunteers are going above and beyond to support Glasgow’s homeless and most vulnerable.

However, they simply cannot do it all on their own. The effects of the pandemic as well as the global cost-of-living crisis have meant tough times for many when it comes to paying the bills, and sadly for many they fall through the cracks.

SNP-Green ministers’ rhetoric on ensuring our communities have enough homes – particularly affordable ones – is good, but typically they have failed to deliver on their housebuilding targets.

And the rent cap – headed up by Green minister Patrick Harvie – has had the opposite effect of what he hoped it would achieve.

It has actually put off many developers from pressing ahead with much-needed developments and has had an adverse impact on the market.

For those not protected by the cap, rents actually rose by more than 13% in both Glasgow and Edinburgh in recent months, among the highest across the United Kingdom.

Glaswegians including myself should not be routinely walking by people asking for spare change to put a roof over their head for that night.

Charities deserve more support from the council, as we should not forget that Homeless Project Scotland was not even granted an exemption for the low emission zone imposed in the city earlier this year.

That shows you where our council’s priorities lie. All too often housing and homelessness are far down the political priority list but that certainly isn’t the case when it comes to me.

I was lucky to have enough support around me growing up in Cranhill, but if I didn’t, then there was every chance I could have ended up on our streets.

We cannot ignore this issue and hope it gets better. Let’s redouble our efforts and ensure come Christmas we do not have Glaswegians sleeping on our streets, freezing to death.