MSPs hear first-hand from Edinburgh’s homeless community

Staff and volunteers from homeless charity Streetwork, which provides 24-hour support across the city, met with MSPs. Picture: Rob McDougall/TSPL

Staff and volunteers from homeless charity Streetwork, which provides 24-hour support across the city, met with MSPs. Picture: Rob McDougall/TSPL

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A GROUP of MSPs has met with Edinburgh’s homeless community at the Streetwork crisis centre to explore how people are accessing homelessness services in the city.

The aim is to help the Local Government and Communities Committee with forthcoming evidence sessions in relation to homelessness.

The Streetwork crisis centre, which is based in Edinburgh city centre, provides 24-hour support for people in need of emergency accommodation and vital services.

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Committee deputy convener Elaine Smith said: “It’s incredibly important for us to hear from people who are currently facing a life on the streets in Edinburgh.

“As part of our research into homelessness in Scotland, we also want to hear from vulnerable people who are at risk of being homeless and how this could potentially be prevented.

“What we learn from this visit will help to shape the Committee’s work in scrutinising housing matters in the future.”

Jan Williamson from Streetwork said: “We are pleased to welcome the committee to our centre and to have the opportunity for our frontline staff and those who access our service to speak directly to MSPs.

“We have over 25 years’ experience of supporting those who are among the most vulnerable in Edinburgh and hope our knowledge will help the Committee in its work.”

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As part of its research into homelessness, the Local Government and Communities Committee will also visit charities and legal advice services in Glasgow and Perth to gain an overall picture of the current housing system in Scotland.

The Committee will consider how best to take forward this work at evidence sessions in early March 2017.

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