ROUGH sleeping is now "almost nonexistent" in Scotland as a result of interventions during the coronavirus crisis, MSPs have been told. 

Claire Frew, policy and impact manager at Homeless Network Scotland, said one estimate suggested there are now less than 30 people sleeping on the streets. 

In Glasgow, this could be down to single figures.

Research previously indicated the annual number of rough sleepers in 2017 was around 5,300, with a nightly snapshot estimate of just over 700. 

Ms Frew said significant funding had gone towards making use of empty hotel rooms during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Giving evidence to Holyrood's Equalities and Human Rights Committee, she said this was initially largely in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

She added: "But local authorities all across the country were trying to take advantage of the fact that nobody was staying in any hotels, to use that to literally either get people off the streets and also to reduce the capacity in some of our bigger accommodation projects, just to disperse people.

"I think it's really important to note that that intervention in itself has meant that rough sleeping is almost now nonexistent on the streets of Scotland."

Ms Frew said there had been "a massive, massive step forward". 

She said: "You can never put number on these things because they change every day. 

"But one of the latest estimates we heard across the country is that there [were] less than 30 people who were potentially sleeping rough.

"Here in Glasgow that could be down to single figures, which just shows you what you can do with a massive intervention and just with the urgency behind it."

She said what comes next is the "big question". 

She added: "We cannot lose the progress that we have made. 

"But if you were to walk the streets of cities now you would see almost nobody sleeping on the streets, which has been quite an achievement."