A TEMPORARY winter homeless shelter in Glasgow has had a “shocking” rise in the number of people using it this year.
Glasgow City Mission set up the project six years ago to provide emergency accommodation to people who have nowhere else to sleep as temperatures drop.
It opened on 1 December and 359 people have used the shelter in its first two weeks, compared to 253 in the first two weeks of its operation last year – a 40 per cent increase.
Organisers said they were “shocked” at the rise in numbers.
The Glasgow winter night shelter is to remain open until the end of March next year, a month longer than usual due to demand.
In total, 407 people used the shelter last winter.
The service provides a bed and breakfast for vulnerable people and volunteers work to find them support through partner organisations like housing associations, health bodies or legal aid groups.
Grant Campbell, chief executive of Glasgow City Mission, said: “While relieved that the Glasgow winter night shelter is open and able to accommodate rough sleepers, I am shocked at the number of people having to use the service.
“Sadly, this winter appears to be our busiest yet, with record numbers already attending the shelter in our first few weeks of opening.”
The centre is in East Campbell Street having moved from its previous base in Bath Street due to its longer operation this year.
People can return to the shelter for numerous nights but volunteers and staff from the City Mission work with everyone who comes in to identify how their problems can be addressed in the long-term.
The charity’s fundraising manager Graham Steven said: “We first openeds during the particularly cold winter of 2009.
“Homeless people were at a risk of dying in those conditions, so we quickly established a temporary shelter to offer a bed, a good night of sleep and some breakfast in the morning.
“The intention is that people come for one or two nights and then, with the help of our support teams, they can move on to more stable accommodation or be pointed in the right direction whether they need health support or legal advice over a housing issue.”