Review of Glasgow homelessness crisis ‘kicked into the long grass’

Glasgow's homeless are 'being failed'. Photograph: Alistair LinfordGlasgow's homeless are 'being failed'. Photograph: Alistair Linford
Glasgow's homeless are 'being failed'. Photograph: Alistair Linford
A leading charity has claimed a government-ordered review of the homelessness crisis in Glasgow has been “kicked into the long grass” as the wait for its final report goes on.

The Scottish Government launched a review in June last year after official statistics revealed that Scotland’s largest council was failing to offer temporary accommodation to homeless people on thousands of occasions.

In a response to a parliamentary question from Labour MSP Pauline McNeill last week, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said the review was on-going and was now aligning with another inquiry led by the Scottish Housing Regulator.

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Housing charity Shelter Scotland, which has been campaigning for Glasgow City Council to meet its statutory duties to accommodate homeless people, is calling for transparency on the issue.

Graeme Brown, the charity’s director, told Scotland on Sunday: “Why is it taking more than eight months for this review to come to conclusions about why Glasgow is failing to accommodate homeless people at such an alarming rate?

“Shelter Scotland is concerned that this issue is being kicked into the long grass.

“The minister is also leaving it to Glasgow City Council to decide whether to publish the results of the review and frankly that does not fill us with confidence.

“More than 130 people have come to us for help having been turned away by the council since we launched our public campaign against gatekeeping since just last August. While we welcome the review and the inquiry by the regulator we are frustrated at the slow pace of change.”

The Housing Minister said: “I have been clear that any failure to provide temporary accommodation to those presenting as homeless is absolutely unacceptable.

“I expect Glasgow City Council to meet its statutory duties to provide those at risk of homelessness with appropriate housing and support.

“We are working with the council to carry out a voluntary review into Glasgow homelessness services focusing on improving practice around their failure to provide temporary accommodation to homeless households.

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“This review aligns with the current Scottish Housing Regulator inquiry into Glasgow’s homelessness service.

“This also covers the council’s failure to provide temporary accommodation.”

The Scottish Housing Regulator said it aimed to publish its findings “towards the end of April”.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership said: “We continue to work closely with the Scottish Housing Regulator and await the outcome of the review.”