THE Scottish Government this week set up an action group to tackle homelessness.

How this differs from a task force or a working group I don’t know but an action group it is.

It sounds much more pro-active than other titles and it will be headed by the chief executive of a charity that has been working with homeless people for decades.

Rough sleeping will be the priority and an ambitious timescale of reducing rough sleeping this winter has been set.

In the longer term the aim to eradicate homelessness, which is also an ambitious target but shouldn’t be unachievable.

Glasgow City Council has also recently held a summit to look at homelessness and is setting up a task force. Again how this differs from an action group I don’t know.

What it means is there is going to be a lot of talking about homelessness over the next few months.

In the same week, the Local Government Committee at Holyrood held an evidence session with six people, men and women with direct and current experience of homelessness.

Each of them had a different story and various life experiences but they all led to the same outcome.

They had nowhere they could call a home of their own.

And once these people found themselves in that situation it was clear from each of their testimonies that it was and for many of them still is enormously difficult to get out of it.

Some of the people were young people who had been in care and were left to try and look after themselves without the support from parents and family that others take for granted.

They felt they had been let down by the system of corporate parenting and one young woman is still paying off debt from council tax arrears five years later.

One woman was homeless because she left her abusive partner and fled with her children.

She said because she was forced to move around to wherever she was placed her children moved school on so many occasions she said their education suffered badly.

Others spoke of unsuitable accommodation in unfamiliar areas and in places where they were unable to feel safe.

Men in the group told of being in and out of numerous hostels and one man is still waiting for an offer of accommodation and has to endure hostel living.

For each of the people who told their stories it was clear that the lack of a home was just one part of the problem.

Homelessness came about as a result of various factors and for those who have come through the other side it then had a lasting impact on their lives.

The city council and the Scottish Government is right to make tackling homelessness a priority.

But the summits and task forces and action groups must produce more than just another set of reports and recommendations.

They must produce meaningful action that will actually prevent homelessness and meet the stated ambition of eradicating it once and for all.

Otherwise is is simply yet another example of all talk and no action.