City’s homeless living in tents from fear of “violent” hostels


Tents are appearing in Glasgow as rough sleepers shun the city's hostels 

11th January 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Homeless people in Glasgow are being forced to live in tents because they fear for their safety in the city’s shelters.

Tents were set up on the banks of the Clyde adjacent to George V Bridge before Christmas as the country experienced the coldest spell of the year.

Council-run street teams have visited the site to make attempts to accommodate the rough sleepers. 

Some of the tents disappereared after the team visited the site, only to reappear this week. 

One rough sleeper told TFN the tents could become a permanent fixture as the city’s overnight shelters have become notorious for drug abuse, violence and theft.

Davy Cairns, originally from Coatbridge, said he rejected offers of accommodation from the council’s street team saying he was safer living on the streets among people he trusted.

“Shelters have become havens for drug abuse and fighting,” he said. “You fear falling asleep because you don’t know who you are sharing with.

“I last stayed in a hostel in October but got robbed of belongings and cash.

“So this is the result. We know and trust each other here.

"The only problem is we’ll get moved on. But we’ll just go elsewhere.”

Neil Arnott from Finnieston has been rough sleeping in the west end of the city and said despite the freezing conditions, sleeping in a tent was preferable for safety reasons. 

“The city’s hostels are no-go for many of us,” he said. “Many of the regulars have drug and drink habits. They’re not really monitored well. Quite a number of regulars  have chaotic lives and a history of violence. It never ends well.”

An estimated 25 rough sleepers are on Glasgow’s streets each night although nearly 2,000 are registered with the city.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, called on the council to do more for rough sleepers.

He said: “No-one should have to sleep rough in 21st century Scotland yet every day we are reminded that far too many people in Scotland – like those near George IV Bridge in Glasgow - are enduring the human tragedy of homelessness.

“We know that the process of applying as homeless can be complex and put people off from asking for help as they are all too often made to feel inferior instead of being treated with the fairness, respect and dignity they deserve.

“Local authorities like Glasgow City Council must do more to ensure that every homeless person who turns to them for help is given the support they have a right to. We know that some people are turned away.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman, said: “Our street team successfully engaged with the people who used these tents and they are now being accommodated appropriately.

“We have been monitoring this situation closely.”