Charities bid to eradicate rough sleeping in Glasgow

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​Philanthropy cash will be used to expand successful outreach work in bid to bust rough sleeping problem

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18th April 2017 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

A successful approach towards eradicating rough sleeping on the streets of Glasgow has been awarded a grant of over £400,000 to maintain its work.

The City Ambition Network (CAN) - a partnership involving key city centre homelessness charities and statutory services - has received £430,000 to expand an existing project with its next target being to reach 70 of Glasgow's most vulnerable people.

The initiative recognises that many rough sleepers will often remain on the streets even when shelter is available.

Therefore, it provides not just access to immediate accommodation, but also support, care and health responses with the aim of putting the homelessness person more in control of their future.

The funding has come from the USA-based philanthropy organisation, Oak Foundation.

CAN was set up two years ago, to work with people who were entrenched in a cycle of homelessness, substance use and mental health problems.

It operates as collaboration between Simon Community Scotland, Glasgow City Mission, The Marie Trust and the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership.

Lorraine McGrath, chief executive at Simon Community Scotland, said: “By working together across the city, staff from our different agencies are able to support people into safe and secure accommodation.

"Service users being supported by CAN tell us they have a really strong sense of being cared for in ways they have not experienced for a long time for many this has helped them break their in and out of rough sleeping."

It is estimated that, each year, over 1,000 people sleep rough, for varying periods of time, on the streets of Glasgow.

Grant Campbell, chief executive of Glasgow City Mission, said: "The complexities behind the phenomenon that is rough sleeping are often overlooked. If it was an easy fix it would have happened by now.

"What the City Ambition Network has been able to achieve might appear small to the casual observer, but to those in the homelessness sector, the joined-up ‘never let go’ approach to individuals dealing with chaotic lifestyles has been powerful."

The Simon Community Scotland says the grant will provide much-needed new staff and a research team to help connect with Glasgow's most vulnerable homeless who need a consistent and intensive approach.

In Glasgow, the Simon Community Scotland street team works with around 150 rough sleepers every month, with up to 40 new cases each month.

Eric Steel, head of Homelessness at Glasgow City Council, said: “The CAN initiative is an innovative and inspiring approach to tackling the very real challenges people face and Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership is pleased to be working in partnership with the voluntary sector in improving outcomes for our most vulnerable citizens.”

The problem of rough sleeping in Glasgow was highlighted recently following the death of 28-year-old Matthew Bloomer.

He was found dead in a shop doorway in Glasgow city centre, the tragedy sparking a protest from a grassroots activist group, called Homelessness Shames Glasgow.

Visit here for more information on the City Ambition Network.