Glasgow City Council to scrap sheltered housing fund completely

David Bookbinder
David Bookbinder

The budget for sheltered housing in Glasgow is to be scrapped completely rather than reduced by third, the council has been forced to admit.

Last week the Evening Times reported a cut of £1 million in cash allocated to housing associations to provide sheltered services.

It has now come to light that the remaining £2m only lasts until December 2017, after which the cash will be totally withdrawn.

Last week Glasgow City Council assured that £2m would still be made available to social landlords for sheltered housing even into 2018.

However, after the Evening Times learned from other sources that was not the case, a council spokesman has now admitted that after December 2017 there will be no budget for sheltered housing as it is not seen to fit with the council’s priorities.

The council will still give the money for Housing Support for Older People’ services but not sheltered housing.

Housing associations in the city who provide the services to thousands of elderly people are concerned people who the council think are low priority will quickly become vulnerable once services are withdrawn.

David Bookbinder, director of Glasgow and West of Scotland Forum of Housing Associations (GWSF), told the newspaper: “Our members are starting the difficult job of talking with tenants and staff about what the future holds, and we know this will be a very worrying time for all those affected.

“Sheltered housing has been under threat for some time, with the council arguing that too many people ‘don’t have care needs’.

“But we’re concerned that once you take warden services away, people who were coping well enough without outside services coming in will quickly become more vulnerable.”

Housing associations fear the cash that was once used for sheltered housing will then be channelled into the councils own care provider.

Mr Bookbinder added: “The council says that after December 2017, £2m will be available for different kinds of care and support services, but all the indications are that this money will simply bolster the council’s main care provider Cordia, which, as covered in the Evening Times this week, has just announced it is to take on 300 new staff.”

One of the options the council lists is rent rises to pay for warden services but that is considered a non-starter.

Mr Bookbinder added: “It’s simply not true that associations can just put the rent up to cover the costs of the warden service.

“Tenants not on benefit would have to pay a big increase out of their own pockets and the UK government’s proposed Housing Benefit cuts mean there will soon be strict limits on the rent levels that tenants will get help with.”

A council spokesman said: “We must direct our social care resources towards those who have been assessed with specific support needs.”

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