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Alarming rise in city's rough sleepers as budget is slashed

This news post is 10 months old

Up to 30 rough sleepers are on the city's streets

There has been a worrying speak in rough sleeping in Glasgow, according to a leading charity.

The city’s Simon Community said the number of rough sleepers is approaching pre-pandemic levels.

Local authorities successfully found accommodation for the majority of rough sleepers during lockdown with charities questioning why the same efforts have not continued.

As few as four rough sleepers were on the city streets during covid, however, the Simon Community say there are now up to 25-30 on some nights.

Councils have a statutory obligation to house the homeless when it has not been their fault. Many rough sleepers however are deemed deliberately homeless because of drug use, criminality or eviction.

The immigration status of six rough sleepers also means they have no access to public funds and are unable to access housing services and benefits.

As such Glasgow's health and social care partnership (HSCP) said an increase in cases it didn't have a "statutory responsibility" to house.

It comes as Glasgow’s homelessness budget has been slashed by £5m – extra cash it received to tackle homelessness during the lockdowns.

The Simon Community’s Ashley Eadie said: "During the pandemic, everybody was accommodated under public health. That is now ending.

"We have to be much more mindful about the accommodation. There isn't an unending pot of money, so there is definitely pressure on the local authority to provide emergency accommodation for people.

"We hadn't given out sleeping bags in this team for well over two years. But because there has been an increase in rough sleepers, it is something we've had to return to."

A spokeswoman for Glasgow HSCP said: "We receive weekly updates from Simon Community who are commissioned to provide outreach support and keep track on rough sleeping trends in the city.

“It is helpful to acknowledge that the Simon Community have assisted in the prevention of rough sleeping with the HSCP accepting responsibility for providing accommodation in these cases.

"While it is too early to say there is a consistent rise in the number of rough sleepers, we acknowledge there has been an increase especially in those cases we do not hold a statutory responsibility for which includes those with no recourse to public funds, those with existing tenancies and includes those who do not wish to engage with services.

"We are aware of a small population of rough sleepers for whom we hold statutory responsibility for and continue to engage with, ensuring emergency accommodation provision is available wherever possible.

"Given the current pressures and the lack of accessible housing supply we acknowledge the level of risk which could impact upon rough sleeping figures in the city and we will continue to review this with our key partners."