Charity says it will take Glasgow to court

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​Council has persistently failed to house homeless people despite 47 dying last year on its streets 

19th August 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Shelter Scotland is preparing to take Glasgow City Council to court for unlawfully denying temporary accommodation to homeless people.  

The charity said it will seek a judicial review in a solicitor's letter delivered to the local authority today unless it ends the practice.  

A delegation of formerly homeless people hand-delivered the letter and are inviting the public to join the court action.

The threat of judicial review follows repeated engagement by Shelter Scotland with Glasgow City Council councillors and officials over several years to raise concerns about gatekeeping, the practice by which local authorities illegally block access to homeless services.

Official statistics published last month show that over the last 12 months the situation has got worse not better with people forced back on the streets 3,365 times compared to 3,025 occasions the previous year.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the facts are clear: Glasgow City Council is breaking the law and homeless people are being forced onto the streets.

“This is a Glasgow problem that needs leadership from the top to tackle,” he said. “When Shelter Scotland supporters protested outside the City Chambers last year, we were hopeful that things would get better. Instead the numbers have gone up during a year when 47 people have died on Glasgow’s streets.

“Rights are not a privilege - they are a legal entitlement enforceable by law and GCC should not be allowed to disregard the law with impunity. If action is not taken to end this practice and public bodies can pick and choose which laws they wish to follow, then it will undermine citizens’ rights across the board.”

The charity is asking the public to become part of any action by signing a petition to demonstrate to the council that they cannot continue to ignore their legal obligations to its citizens and by donating to a crowdfund campaign to help fund our fight for housing rights in Scotland.

Tam Lyon, who himself has experience of the transformative benefit a home and good support makes to people rebuilding their lives after homelessness, was one of the delegation that delivered today’s lawyer’s letter to the council.

He said: “It is a scandal that Glasgow City Council has been able to get away with this for so long, but the harsh reality is that they think nobody will do anything about it.

“That’s why I am asking the people of Glasgow to show their support. Anyone can become homeless because of debt, losing your job or becoming disabled and we all need to know that when we need it most, there is somewhere we can go.”