Glasgow is a city of two halves for sure – what football team do you support, what school did you go to, what shops do you buy your clothes in, but the latest one that I can see is beyond disturbing.

Our city is rich with history, but an unsettling paradox is unfolding before our eyes. While magnificent heritage buildings, remnants of a bygone era, stand abandoned and decaying, the city grapples with a profound homelessness crisis.

This stark juxtaposition paints a poignant picture of the challenges and opportunities that Glasgow faces today.

Glasgow has architectural wonders, shaped by the hands of masters like Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander Greek Thomson, and are a testament to its grandeur. But as time has passed, these buildings have fallen into disrepair, leaving us to question why these iconic structures have been allowed to wither away.

It is heart-breaking to witness trees growing out of the facades of Edwardian and Victorian buildings, their once-proud exteriors fading into oblivion.

These buildings were erected by the city’s forefathers, reflecting the craftsmanship and vision of our past.

Today, they serve as a chilling reminder of neglect, contrasting sharply with the Glasgow of years ago. Recently an empty B listed building was reported to have been on set on fire, with teenagers rescued from the building.

Thankfully no injuries have been reported this time. A walk along Bridge street is one example of once stunning heritage buildings empty and falling into disrepair.

The juxtaposition becomes even more poignant when we consider the homelessness crisis that plagues the city. Homelessness knows no bounds, affecting individuals and families who find themselves without shelter or a place to call home. It is a crisis that demands urgent attention and compassionate solutions.

Amidst this crisis, the sight of heritage buildings standing empty takes on a new dimension. These buildings, once filled with life and purpose, now sit as silent witnesses to the struggles of the homeless population. The question that must be asked is why? Why do we allow these architectural treasures, with the potential to provide safe and dignified housing, to remain vacant?

The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated. In Glasgow, the clock is ticking for those who endure the harsh realities of homelessness every day. It is not merely a matter of preserving historical landmarks; it is a matter of preserving the dignity and well-being of the city’s residents.

Other local authorities have taken some proactive steps to address homelessness, signing 10-year leases for properties and refurbishing them for temporary accommodation. An example of a simple yet powerful idea: repurpose these historic buildings to provide shelter to those who need it most.

The pace of change is agonisingly slow. Glasgow must act with greater urgency and determination to rescue its heritage and alleviate its homelessness crisis.

What Glasgow needs is a comprehensive heritage rescue plan with a clear vision and action timelines. The time for endless talking and strategising is over; Glasgow City Council must act swiftly and decisively utilising the powers of compulsory purchase and the Scottish Government must answer repeated calls by providing additional powers and adequate funding.

It’s a call to action, we must save Glasgow’s heritage from irreversible decay while providing a lifeline to those in need.

Abandoned heritage buildings amidst a homelessness crisis is a stark reminder of our responsibilities as a community. Glasgow’s rich history should not condemn its residents to homelessness. The time for change is now, and Glasgow must answer that call, bridging the divide between its past and its present, and offering shelter to those who need it most.