Glasgow homeless shelter opens as demand soars

glasgow-winter-night-shelterA homeless shelter in Glasgow opens its doors today for what is expected to be it busiest ever year this Christmas.

The Glasgow Winter Night Shelter provides basic emergency accommodation to people who have nowhere else to sleep as temperatures drop. Last year it hosted 605 people on 4,060 occasions – a 94 per cent increase on the previous year.

Glasgow City Mission, which runs the shelter, said staff are bracing themselves for an even busier year given city-wide cuts to social care budgets in 2016.

Glasgow City Mission chief executive, Grant Campbell, said: “You just need to walk around the city centre for a few minutes before you realise just how many people are now begging or sleeping rough.

“There has been an unquestionable marked increase this year on the visibility of street homelessness in a way that we haven’t seen in recent years.

“Last year we witnessed a near doubling of numbers – a trend that other charities across the UK also reported.

“With the continuing housing crisis and lack of suitable care being provided, all the indicators point to yet another busy year.”

The service, which provides a bed and breakfast for vulnerable people, runs in partnership with more than a dozen agencies like housing associations, health bodies or legal aid groups, all of which are determined to tackle homelessness in Glasgow.

Mr Campbell added: “We want to address the root causes and secure lasting help for people in the form of a sustainable housing solution.

“We’ve found that not everyone knows how to access statutory homeless provision.

“Others have had difficulties accessing it. With our advocacy and that of our partners, we have managed to get people into housing by connecting night shelter patrons to the local authority.”

This year’s service will again be located at Lodging House Mission’s premises in East Campbell Street, near Barrowland Ballroom.

Doors will open at 10pm every night, including Christmas and New Year from December 1 to March 31 2017.

Funding and support for the shelter comes through individual donations and from partners including NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Police Scotland, the Govan Law Centre and Glasgow Homelessness Network.

Last year, funding from Rangers Charity Foundation raised £70,000 after fans slept out on the Ibrox pitch.

This enabled the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter to stay open for an additional month in 2016 and 2017, as well as pay for legal advocacy services.

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