Strong words, but what action? That's the question to be asked as Glasgow City Council declares a housing emergency.

This week the city joins Argyll and Bute Council and Edinburgh City Council by officially stating that housing pressures in the local authority are untenable.

There are common themes here, not just in these three councils but across Scotland: high rents, which the Scottish Greens' rent cap has not comprehensively tackled; inflation causing mortgage rates to rise; large numbers of short terms lets removing homes from the market; and the chronic problem of house building failing to keep pace with demand - especially high quality social housing.

This isn't a new issue or a surprise to anyone. The Scottish Government has repeatedly acknowledged the intense pressures on housing and has developed a variety of house building investment programmes and targets in an attempt to meet demand.

The issue of rough sleeping - all but eradicated by the "everyone in" policy during the pandemic - is now back to pre-covid levels and is a highly visible disgrace in Scottish town and city centres. And in our parks, and cemeteries and under motorway bridges, all places where people are setting up tents or laying sleeping bags.

It is not, as Suella Braverman labelled it, a "lifestyle choice". It is, as I said a few weeks ago on the issue of rough sleeping, the result of political choices.

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I also mentioned, in a column on rough sleeping earlier this month, that there is a gentleman sleeping in a tent pitched on Buchanan Street. This is the spine of Glasgow's so-called Golden Z. It is the thoroughfare marketed as the Style Mile. And there's a delivery driver sleeping out in a tent, he's been there for weeks.

This is, though, the visible element of homelessness. There are thousands more people in temporary accommodation, in hostels and B&Bs, sleeping on friends' sofas.

Glasgow has an additional issue distinct from the other councils also in dire straits.

In the city, the largest asylum dispersal area outwith London, failures in the Home Office - as they have long done - have exacerbated the pressures on housing.

The UK government has accelerated the process of dealing with asylum applications, but this acceleration means the local authority may have to deal with as many as 1500 new housing referrals by the end of the year.

It's unlikely that the government will move as fast as it is pledging to but the council still must be prepared to provide homes for these numbers, even if it is in the new year.

Already figures show the number of referrals to homelessness support services of those granted leave to remain has doubled.

This is not only due to people who have been placed in Mears accommodation - Mears is a private contractor providing housing on behalf of the Home Office - in Glasgow.

People with leave to remain are also coming to the city from elsewhere in the UK - attracted by Scotland's robust housing rights, such as a statutory duty to accommodate single adult males.

Even those whose asylum applications are rejected and who have no recourse to public funds are entitled to be housed if they have a family. This increased demand could cost Glasgow as much as £53 million but the city is not being provided with any additional funding by the UK government. The Home Office is simply ploughing ahead without any regard for the consequences, which, under this government, is as the Home Office does.

It should be good news that the Home Office is endeavouring to clear the backlog of asylum applications. People are living in limbo in stressful, anxiety-ridden situations waiting to find out what their future might hold.

The fact the asylum bottleneck has been allowed to accumulate is an indictment of underfunding and under-resourcing in the civil service that has created dire problems in the asylum system.

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It must not be used as a right-wing talking point to try to score racist points. It must be made absolutely clear that this is not an issue of the UK being "full" or asylum seeking people placing a strain on the system.

Rather, we need to be bold and trust in these new Scots to be industrious, build their lives here and pay taxes by making it easier and more welcoming for them to settle, work and contribute to society. 

While the problem created by the Home Office's actions is new, the overall issue of housing crisis is of no surprise to anyone. Homelessness charities have been running on fumes for years; some, such as the Simon Community, talk of being at capacity.

Glasgow's Health and Social Care Partnership has cut frontline services and the council has reduced the number of hotel rooms it uses, limiting capacity. A reduction in the use of hotel accommodation would otherwise be a good news story: living in privately-run hotels without being able to meaningfully integrate into the local community, without access to support services and being within too easy access to drugs are long-held complaints of the system.

They are also expensive for the council to fund and are more difficult to claim housing benefit on to recoup costs.

But there must be alternative accommodation instead, which there isn't. Part of the problem is the last 20 years of privatising services since the housing stock transfer in 2003 and the lack of value for money from the private sector.

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Recently the Scottish parliament voted down a motion from the Labour party to declare a Scotland-wide housing emergency, as the charity Shelter has been lobbying politicians to do.

Unfortunately for those MSPs who opted to amend the motion and replace the word "emergency" with "pressures", whether or not they label it such, it is the case that there is an emergency and it is one that requires a carefully considered crisis response.

Glasgow City Council is asking both governments for more money. In the short term, more money is desperately needed. There must also be strategic planning in the short, medium and long term.

The most important issue is the building of more high quality social housing.

The Scottish Government must move on creating new tax powers for local authorities and powers such as Compulsory Sales Orders, which is something the Scottish Government has been raising and delaying for the past 10 years.

Empty homes must be brought back into circulation though being retrofitted and local authority estates and empty offices converted into permanent homes.

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The declaring of a housing emergency is a shot across the bows from the council to the Scottish and UK governments but all involved have made missteps and errors on the housing issue.

It is vital that the cry for help is not merely rhetoric but one that forces a move to resolve an issue that is only going to become more critical if all parties involved - from local to national level - fail to stop pointing the finger at one another and work together on a solution.