Coronavirus: Homeless fearful they’re being left to ‘perish’

One rough sleeper has noticed a significant change in the number of people in Glasgow and their approach to homeless people.

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Homeless people and rough sleepers are fearful they’re being left to “perish” as coronavirus cases continue to increase across Scotland.

One rough sleeper in Glasgow told STV News he had noticed a significant change in the number of people in the city and their approach to homeless people.

He said: “There is nobody coming up to us, it’s torture, it’s affecting the homeless really badly, more than people realise.

“A lot of people just walk past you like you’ve got aids or something, it’s like you’re not a normal person, nobody comes near you or speaks to you.

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“They won’t even give you a cigarette because of this virus.

He said it makes him “feel invisible”.

He added: “If it becomes mandatory to stay in the house, what house am I going to sit in?

“A lot of the homeless people are just going to perish if we don’t get help soon.

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“It’s like a third world country, people are sitting here in tears because there is nothing, nobody is coming up to us.”

On Thursday, a winter night shelter run by a Christian charity closed after a guest and member of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Glasgow City Mission helps vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the city with situations including homelessness, addiction, poverty, family breakdown, prostitution, persecution overseas and asylum.

Although the East Campbell Street shelter closed, help will still be available at its Crimea Street base.

In a statement, they said: “The Covid-19 crisis has reinforced to us at Glasgow City Mission that shelters are not an appropriate accommodation solution during a pandemic.

“To wilfully continue to house people in shelter-style environments is, for us, to demonstrate contempt not compassion.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said plans were being put in place to reduce risk to vulnerable homeless people.

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She said: “This involves working with a range of stakeholders including Police Scotland and those concerned with housing and health as well as third sector partners like the Simon Community – this is a charity we work closely with and whose street team build up relationships with rough sleepers.

“We’re currently identifying temporary furnished flats that would allow people to self-isolate if necessary as well as self- contained spaces within communal accommodation.”

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