ANOTHER report warns of the dangers of a big rise in homelessness unless action is taken.

Decade after decade the warnings are issued and year after year the statistics tell the same story.

Almost 12,000 people in Scotland are classed as homeless in one form or another. That is a shocking statistic but it is more than a number, it is 12,000 individual stories of despair.

The Crisis report lays the blame at the door of Government policies on housing and welfare.

The predicted rise over the next 25 years is dire and means many more people living in the same misery and desperation.

The report welcomes the Scottish Government ambition of building 35,000 homes for social rent over five years.

Kevin Stewart, the Housing Minister, said that homeless people in Scotland have some of the strongest rights in the world.

That is great but what they don’t have is a home. There is however, so much more to the homeless problem than houses. In fact at a homelessness summit on rough sleeping in Glasgow a council official said housing supply in not the issue.

Homelessness takes many forms and for many people it will be a short experience and they will have their situation resolved

The issue for the most affected, those sleeping on the streets, which is predicted to double to 1500 if things carry on the away they are, is about more than a roof and four walls.

The biggest myth about solving homelessness is we have lots of builders so let’s build houses and hey presto there will be no homelessness.

That would certainly reduce the problem, which if it meets its target of 35,000 homes for social rent, hopefully the Scottish Government will.

But bricks and mortar won’t deal with chronic drug and alcohol abuse. Spanish slate above your head won’t relieve the trauma of abuse or help re-adjustment after prison or a childhood spent in care.

Nor will it remove the debilitating effects of mental illness.

Every person sleeping on the streets has one, or more likely a combination, of those difficulties listed above.

An intensive support package tailored to suit the individual is needed, along with a great deal of patience to persevere with providing help even when it seems like it is not working.

If it was easy for them just to pull themselves together and go and get a tenancy and pay the bills on time, then these people would do it.

In most cases there is another problem which is the root cause, often drug addiction. It comes before rent, electricity, food and anything else.

So when the politicians say they will build tens of thousands of homes we should welcome it and make sure they actually do it.

But at the same time they need to see the necessity of adequate funding and support for the services dealing with the underlying cause, the problem which is preventing people from getting their lives back on track.

Rights and housebuilding targets are well and good but these people are broken and they need help putting back together again.

They cannot be considered to be beyond repair.