800 left to sleep rough on Glasgow’s streets

Glasgow Homelessness NetworkGlasgow City Council received almost 5000 applications for homelessness assistance last year.

And official statistics show that more than 400 people slept on the city streets the night before approaching the local authority, the Evening Times has reported.

However, the number of rough sleepers could be more than double the government figures, according to new research.

A major report released recently by Glasgow Homelessness Network estimates that as many as 800 people regularly sleep rough.

The analysis found that the majority are men aged between 25 and 59 who often have mental health problems and drug and alcohol dependencies.

The researchers found that these issues were usually brought on by “traumatic childhood experiences” such as abuse and neglect.

The report said: “Of the 445 (homelessness) applications in Glasgow where a household member had slept rough the night before, 96 per cent were single, 83 per cent were aged 25 to 59 and 85 per cent were men.”

A sixth of Scotland’s homelessness applications were submitted to Glasgow City Council last year and a quarter of people who slept rough the night before were on the streets of Glasgow.

The council has had responsibility for finding accommodation for homeless people since a change in the law in November 2012.

This ensured that, from December 31 2012 onwards, all unintentionally homeless households in Scotland are entitled to settled accommodation.

The most recent Scottish Government figures show that 4,974 applications were made to Glasgow City Council from April 2013 until the end of March 2014.

That figure fell from 5,995 in 2012/13 and 6,319 in 2011/12.

The number of homelessness applications throughout Scotland totalled 29,326 last year.

Meanwhile, the number of people sleeping rough in Glasgow has also fallen in recent years, from 535 in 2011/12 to 475 in 2012/13 and 445 last year, according to official figures.

Across Scotland, 1,787 people slept rough the night before submitting a homelessness application in 2013/14.

The steady fall in the Scottish Government’s homelessness figures follows the implementation of the Scottish Housing Options Approach.

The initiative by the Scottish Government allows locals authorities to investigate all options instead of making a homelessness assessment as the first option.

The first set of housing options statistics, released in January, demonstrated that councils providing the service reduced homelessness applications.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: “Council staff are assisting households to consider their range of housing options to address their housing needs in order to help prevent homelessness before it occurs.

“Rather than only accepting a homelessness application, council homelessness services will work with employability, mental health, money advice and family mediation services.”

A spokesman for homelessness charity Shelter Scotland described the housing options figures as “encouraging”.

He added: “Housing options is a positive step forward and these figures show that for many, the scheme works.”




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