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24 December 2017, 05:58
New measures aimed at stopping Scots from having to sleep on the streets this winter are being brought in at a "rapid pace", a Scottish Government minister said.
In November First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged the government would immediately implement all the recommendations from an expert group set up to examine how to end the problem of rough sleeping.
Since then the number of places at the Bethany Trust night shelter in Edinburgh has been increased, while the Night Stop scheme, where volunteers provide emergency accommodation to homeless young people for up to two weeks, and which already operates in the capital, is being rolled out to Glasgow.
Winter survival packs are also being made available as a last resort to those who are still on the streets.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said: "It is encouraging to see the actions needed to tackling rough sleeping this winter have been implemented at such a rapid pace. I am thankful to the organisations and councils that have been leading on this for their timely response.
"These immediate actions will ensure more safe and warm places to stay, and extra support for those who may find themselves at risk of rough sleeping this winter."
The work has been taken forward after the Scottish Government set up the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.
Mr Stewart added: "Of course, our work does not stop here and the group will now be looking at how we can end rough sleeping for good.
"We are absolutely committed to eradicating rough sleeping and ending homelessness - which is why we established the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group, backed by £50 million over five years to drive change."