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Street sleeping set to rise, as shelters close

 
March 7th 2012
 

 

Glasgow charities have expressed concerns about the number of homeless people who could be sleeping on the streets this month, following the scheduled closure of the city’s winter shelter.

The Glasgow Winter Service opened its doors for the second year running in the Shielding building on McAlpine Street last December and closed after the last weekend in February.

Run by a collective of charities, which including Glasgow City Mission, Turning Point Scotland and Glasgow Housing Association, the shelter offered sofas, sleeping bags and hot food and drinks, and saw people every night this winter.

Glasgow Homelessness Network, which was part of the coalition, has collected data from those using the shelter as a last resort. The Pavement Scotland was given a preview of the data - due to be presented to Glasgow City Council later this month - which showed that a few days before the service closed, 1,417 overnight stays had been recorded.

Additional details were gathered from 524 forms, filled in on a nightly basis voluntarily by 260 people.

Initial figures show most people staying overnight in the shelter were in their thirties, though the age range was 18-83. The majority said they had been homeless before.

A separate woman’s service was available this year, which may have accounted for a rise in the number of women accessing the shelter - around 30 per cent.

People were asked where they would have slept if the shelter was not open, with 72 per cent claiming they would be rough sleeping. But with no information recorded on up to 20 per cent of the forms, it is anticipated the actual figure will be much higher.

Most of those questioned had not approached their local authority for a range of complicated reasons. One common one was that they had previously not been accommodated when they asked for help.

Glasgow City Mission, along with other charities, has been lobbying Glasgow City Council to help those who stayed at the shelter find solutions to their housing problems.

In response, the council has laid on taxis to the Hamish Allan Centre each morning for those who agreed to speak to an advisor. Up to 17 people attended each day. However, the data also suggests this doesn’t always work. Of 83 referrals made to social work from Glasgow City Mission, 12 people did not attend, and 13 left the Hamish Allan Centre before they had been seen, claiming the wait was too long. Of the 47 who were offered accommodation, it is not known how many accepted this offer.

Andrew Low, Chief Executive of the Glasgow City Mission, invited council staff to work from the shelter for the final days that it remained open so that as few people as possible would end up on the streets.

“Unfortunately they declined,” said Low. “We were disappointed. We had asked the council about putting on extra staff and doing all they could to resolve people’s issues.

“We have real concerns because a number of our clients had nowhere to go.

“The data we have collected shows that people are using us as emergency accommodation. And when that isn’t there we are worried that they will end up on the streets.”

The raw data is currently being analysed by the Glasgow Homelessness Network, who will present headline figures to interested charities before producing a full report to put to Glasgow City Council later in the month.

It is hoped that this hard evidence will help the charities to lobby in coming months for a better services for homeless people in need of accommodation.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Access to homelessness services is available at the Hamish Allan Centre on a round-the-clock basis. “Anyone who requires emergency accommodation should present at the centre and they will receive assistance.”

 
 
 

March 2012

 

Contents

No homeless in Lambeth by May 2012

Becoming invisible, part I

Waste not, want not campaign

The truth about homelessness

Flash mob in Birmingham

Still work to be done in Brum, warns councillor

Need help with a alcohol or drug problem?

Homeless numbers reach lowest level in ten years

Street sleeping set to rise, as shelters close

Scottish Parliament probes youth homelessness

Drug users warned as new HIV cases come to light

A hand-hold to grab on to, before it's too late

Frozen

Council bans Big Issue seller

Stuck in mud and then arrested

Rise in rough sleeping

Tent city fire

Rough sleepers ‘Speak Out’

Landmark ruling on HB for Big Issue sellers

Hobohunt

Another chance for man with the golden voice

Street Shield 27: The night shift

 

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© Copyright 2009-2014 The Pavement. Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656 Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760 ISSN (online) 1757-0484