Glasgow City Council ‘not housing homeless people quickly enough’, finds Regulator

People who are homeless in Glasgow are waiting too long to be given a home and many spend too much time in temporary accommodation, the Scottish Housing Regulator has found.

A report by the watchdog has shown that in 2016/17 Glasgow City Council secured homes for nearly 2,000 families, around half of those it had a duty to house, while people spent on average 238 days in temporary accommodation.

Michael Cameron, the Regulator’s chief executive, said: “Local authorities have a duty to provide homes to people who are homeless. RSLs have a duty to help them do that.

“The council is not housing enough people who are homeless quickly enough and it is not referring enough people to RSLs to meet housing need. Some RSLs make a good contribution to providing homes to people who are homeless, some have more to do.

“We expect the council and its partners to respond positively to the recommendations in our report. The council must improve urgently the services it provides for people who are homeless.”

The report is the outcome of the Regulator’s review of how effectively Glasgow City Council and registered social landlords (RSLs) work to secure homes for people who are homeless.

It has called on the council to streamline its approach to assessment and referral, especially for those who need only limited or no assistance beyond getting a home.

This, the report argues, would move people who are homeless quickly into homes, freeing up temporary accommodation for those who need it.

The report also recommends that governing bodies should oversee their RSL’s performance to ensure this always complies with Scottish Ministers’ guidance on housing people who are homeless.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, expressed concern at the findings.

He said: “This report highlights that despite some process improvements, Glasgow City Council failed to provide a home for almost half of those that it had a duty to house last year.

“This is not acceptable.

“Shelter Scotland has for years been raising concerns about the experience of homeless people in Glasgow. In particular, we have serious concerns that Glasgow City Council is too often failing to meet its legal duty to find suitable homes for homeless households and that too many people are being turned away from the services they have a legal right to. These unacceptable practices must stop now.”

Graeme Brown added: “Radical and comprehensive action is now needed to ensure homeless people get the services they need, are entitled to and deserve in Glasgow.

“We hope this report will force Glasgow City Council to sit up and take the meaningful action needed so that they meet their statutory duties for all homeless people in the city.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We accept that improvements within the system are still required to ensure people who present as homeless can move into a permanent home as soon as possible.

“We are currently working to a comprehensive improvement plan which is reshaping how homelessness services are being delivered in Glasgow, and we have worked very closely with the regulator on this over the past 2-3 years.

“It is always our aim for people affected by homelessness to return quickly to mainstream housing.

“Along with the city’s social landlords, we will study the report’s recommendations very carefully and work with them and other partners to make the appropriate changes to the way services are currently delivered.”

The council said it was pleased the Regulator acknowledged improvements that were being made.

The spokesman added: “The report also identifies many areas of positive practice in Glasgow’s homelessness system and also the scale of the challenge faced by the city’s support services.

“As the regulator recognises, the council and its partners are working together more effectively to support those affected by homelessness.”

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