The desire to help people sleeping rough in Glasgow is a typically Glaswegian response and one we should be proud of. We’re thrilled that so many people are passionate that no one should have to sleep rough in the city, particularly over the winter months.
In the past few weeks, an online petition has circulated, calling on the Council to open up empty buildings for rough sleepers to use.
However, opening up buildings to be used as shelters can be problematic because the problem isn’t simply about accommodation. A similar situation in Manchester, whilst generous has already been critiqued.
Many of those who are sleeping rough have complex needs, and as well as a stable home they need robust and consistent care and support. Opening up buildings could leave individuals stuck in premises where they can become invisible to society and have few prospects of moving out and forward with their lives.
For the past five years, Glasgow City Mission, along with partners from housing associations and the third sector, have been opening up a building to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers over the winter months. We have done this in partnership ensuring that the service is well connected with care services and seeks to provide better outcomes for those who use the service.
Shelters shouldn’t be given the opportunity to become the norm in our society, and in this light we want to provide the best shelter we can over the winter months but for it to be a temporary solution. Our ambition is that there is a day coming where we don’t need it in the city.
No one wants a shelter to become their home. People need stability in their accommodation, it needs to be appropriate and connected to the appropriate care.
Grant discussed the subject on BBC Radio Scotland this morning. You can listen again and scroll to 2:55:32.