Glasgow City Mission is taking radical steps to address the growing problem of homelessness in the city by purchasing homes to get people off the streets.
Ten flats scattered across the city will initially be purchased for some of our most vulnerable clients.
A growing visibility of street homelessness and a rising number of drug deaths in the city are among the reasons that has led us to adopt more radical plans.
The accommodation model will follow the successful Housing First concept, piloted initially in Glasgow by Turning Point Scotland, and which has proven to eradicate homelessness in parts of North America and Scandinavia where it has been implemented.
Grant Campbell, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Mission says:
“Many of the highly vulnerable people we work are often caught in a revolving door that sees people lose their tenancy, find themselves on the streets, prison or hospital, and then spend a long time working their way back through the system to receive new accommodation again, only for the cycle to start again.
“Our staff team and our supporters have been frustrated by the bureaucracy and steps needed to be taken by vulnerable people in Glasgow to receive and sustain accommodation. Thanks to our generous supporters, we are delighted to be in a position to change this system for initially a small group of the city’s most chaotic and disadvantaged people by purchasing new homes for people and providing much needed support.
“Housing First turns the city’s existing accommodation model on its head. No longer will people need to progress through different types of accommodation before they are deemed suitable and trustworthy to have their own permanent tenancy. Instead, they will receive their house first as the name suggests and then the necessary wraparound support to sustain the tenancy. Crucially, this support is flexible and tailored to the needs of the individual, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Having the stability of a home that is yours means people take a sense of ownership of it and are less likely to return to the streets.
“In seven years of operating the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter, we have witnessed a number of people return each year seeking emergency accommodation after failed experiences with supported accommodation and being banned from other services. A radical new approach is needed if we are to see long-term vulnerable people exit the revolving door of homelessness. We outlined in our Who we are, Where we're going service plan that accommodation would be part of the next chapter for Glasgow City Mission – if we can see something of the success of Housing First from other parts in the world come to fruition in Glasgow, our city and its people can flourish once again”.
Glasgow City Mission has committed to purchasing ten flats initially, made possible thanks to generous supporters of the charity including a number of people who have left a gift to the charity in their will. Property management will be undertaken by Homes for Good, a local social enterprise letting agency.
Glasgow City Mission will identify tenants working with them under the umbrella of the City Ambition Network (CAN) – a collaborative network comprised of Glasgow City Mission, Simon Community Scotland, Marie Trust, Turning Point Scotland and the Health & Social Care Partnership (NHS and Glasgow City Council).
It is anticipated that the first tenants to move into their new homes will do so by Christmas.
Gary spent a large part of his childhood in the care system, rarely in a stable happy environment. As a teenager he drifted in to homelessness and was rough sleeping for years, in and out of prison and sometimes having a bed on a friend’s sofa, injecting drugs.
Gary began receiving support from the City Ambition Network (CAN) when he was 29 and said he had been rough sleeping for the previous 7 or 8 years. He had no live benefit claim and had not even presented as being homeless. In the past two years he has worked with his CAN keyworker and linked in with homelessness health services. He has also been accommodated in a series of emergency accommodations services ranging from bed and breakfasts to supported projects but every time, either after a few days or a few months this would break down. Every service has a set of rules and sooner or later Gary would be asked to leave – sometimes for not returning at night or even for not engaging with the service’s staff.
Gary is now rough sleeping again and doesn't want to go back to another service only for it to break down and clearly the current options do not work. He wants a place of his own.
*Gary’s real name has not been disclosed to protect his anonymity.