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MSPs join frontline staff from Churches Action for the Homeless in street walk

Homeless people in Perth and Kinross met with MSPs from the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee when they visited Churches Action for the Homeless (CATH).


MSPs took part in a ‘street walk’ with frontline staff from CATH and spoke directly with people affected by homelessness on the outskirts of the city.


CATH, which was set up in 1991 after severe weather plighted rough sleepers in Perth, is a local charity, which offers support to homeless people or those under threat of homelessness who might otherwise have gone under the radar due to their remote location.


Local Government and Communities Committee Member, Alexander Stewart MSP, said:

“It can be all too easy for homelessness in some of the most remote areas of Scotland to go unnoticed. 


“That’s why the committee was keen to hear directly from homeless people in rural Perth and Kinross to find out more about their experiences and how these may differ to those living in urban areas of Scotland.


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


Brian Cowie, chief executive at CATH, said: “Homelessness can be defined in many ways, sofa surfing, staying with relatives or friends without permanency to the agreement, substance dependency, behavioural issues and mental health may put tenancies and accommodation at risk of termination. Social isolation in some rural settings may mean these problems go undetected and or unmanaged until they reach crisis point.”


This is the third visit the Committee has undertaken as part of its research into homelessness. In late February 2017, MSPs met with Edinburgh’s homeless community at Streetwork. They also met with women who had experience of homelessness at Simon Community Scotland.


The Committee will consider how best to take forward its research into homelessness at evidence sessions this month.



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