Glasgow to reduce emergency and supported accommodation as part of £2.6m savings plan
Almost 100 emergency and supported housing beds could be lost across Glasgow after plans were unveiled to cut homelessness services in the city by £2.6 million.
Recommendations passed by the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) to “make savings” by reducing emergency and supported accommodation beds for homeless people have been put forward by Susanne Millar, chief officer strategy & operations / chief social work officer, and Jim McBride, head of adult services (criminal justice and homelessness).
GCHSCP claims the “difficult decisions” are part of a plan to modernise services as it makes a transition to the Housing First model.
The cuts will see reduced accommodation provided by charities including the Simon Community, the Scottish Association of Mental Health, the Talbot Association and Aspire, with an estimated loss of 89 beds from October. The cuts also include a further £500,000 which will be redirected to the Alliance to End Homelessness.
According to meeting papers published yesterday, the “risks” in reducing bed spaces are “mitigated by the planned move on for clients”.
The Govan Law Centre has condemned the proposal as “wholly wrong” and warned the cuts will harm the very charities working every day to tackle homelessness.
Solicitor advocate Mike Dailly, who served on the recent Scottish Government strategy group to eradicate homelessness in Scotland, said: “Glasgow has the worst homeless problem in Scotland. And homelessness in Glasgow, particularly rough sleeping, has been getting worse.
“These £2.6m cuts will mean the loss of 100 temp homeless beds in Glasgow and all the vital services organisation like the Simon Community support workers provide. It will be devastating and cause massive disruption. It must be changed.
“I served on the recent Scottish Government strategy group to eradicate homelessness in Scotland. Our recommendations were meant to be in addition to the services already being provided, not a cheap substitute. The whole point of rapid re-housing is that people get the wrap around services they need. They get a home quickly but they get the support they need to keep it going.
“How you can work to end homelessness by cutting £2.6m from an already small homeless budget is beyond me. Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government must sit down and re-think a decision which will cause misery for so many vulnerable people in Glasgow.”
Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of The Homeless Network, which manages the Housing First Pathfinder programme in Scotland, told Scottish Housing News: “Homeless accommodation providers in Glasgow have, for years, provided people with expert support. Significantly, they have also paved the way to modernise Glasgow’s response to homelessness, which means getting more people into their own homes more quickly.”
A spokeswoman for Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership added: “Glasgow’s homeless services are being transformed to ensure they are fit for the 21st century and that no one spends longer than necessary in temporary accommodation.
“Rapid rehousing is our aim and all service users affected by these plans will move to either Housing First tenancies, mainstream tenancies or have appropriate support provided from alternative care group resources.
“We must ensure resources are used to best effect to help those who need help most, in the most appropriate manner. Unfortunately, some of the services affected by this decision were underused and others were operated from premises in need of repair or inappropriate in this day and age.”