Fears for city homeless as service gets cut

Rough sleeper

Homeless services being wound down by council 

16th October 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Charity leaders are worried homeless people will suffer if a Glasgow night shelter cuts back on its services.

The city’s Hamish Allan Centre plans to close its night shelter service on a Tuesday and Wednesday from next week (24 October).

Homeless people will be told to attend Glasgow City Mission if they turn up before 11pm.

After this time they are asked to call a free, emergency number.

It comes as Glasgow City Council gradually decommissions services at the Hamish Allan Centre as part of move to a new multi-agency hub.

Shelter Scotland said it was "deeply concerned" about the provision of services for homeless people in Glasgow.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “We have been deeply concerned about the provision of services to homeless people in Glasgow for a long time.

"While we agree there needs to be change some of the planned changes are raising alarm bells for us.

“Winter is almost upon us and there is an urgent need for Glasgow City Council to put in place workable plans that ensure people can get emergency accommodation whether they have a working phone or not.

“People who have just gone through the trauma of losing their home must not then face barriers to accessing their legal rights to emergency accommodation and help to get a permanent, settled home.”

And union leaders fear the loss of face-to-face contact after 11pm could create a barrier to emergency help and lead to more people sleeping on the city’s streets.

Chris Sermanni, social work convenor for Unison Glasgow, said: “They have modelled this as a pilot saying Tuesday and Wednesdays aren’t particularly busy.

“We are certainly not convinced by this.

 “We are concerned that this is Glasgow City Council moving services outwith council responsibility to the third sector or private sector.

We're concerned that this is Glasgow City Council moving services outwith council responsibility - Chris Sermanni

“We have raised this with management and politicians and will continue to do that because we are not buying into it.”

Earlier this year a homeless man was discovered dead in a doorway in the city’s Argyle Street after sleeping rough.  

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “The move to a multi-agency hub will help us and a growing number of partners to deliver the right services, where and when they are most needed.”

 “We appreciate that these changes are part of a pilot and that the council is attempting to make improvements but we would urge them to consider assessing the risk that this change will harm the very people it is supposed to help.

"In particular we would like reassurance that everyone who calls will be recorded and no-one will be turned away by phone without being given the opportunity to make an official homelessness application.”