New petition part of a grassroots campaign to end rough sleeping in Glasgow
Activists have ramped up their campaign against homelessness in Glasgow by launching a petition demanding the city council “fulfils its duty” to look after the vulnerable.
Campaigners have moved into action after 28-year-old Matthew Bloomer was found dead in a shop doorway last week.
They organised the emergency distribution of food and sleeping material and staged a demo in the city centre under the banner Homelessness Shames Glasgow.
They point out that the authority’s own website states that when people present as homeless, “as a minimum, the council will arrange for you to receive advice and information and temporary accommodation.”
This, campaigners allege, has not been happening, as can be seen by the increasing numbers of rough sleepers on the city’s streets.
The 38 Degrees petition reads: “We demand that Glasgow City Council acts immediately to fulfil its duty to the people of Glasgow.
“Everyone who presents themselves at a council facility as homeless, should immediately be provided with somewhere safe and warm to stay, until such times as they are able to find permanent accommodation.
“Furthermore, we demand an end to the policy of abandoning our friends who are deemed to have made themselves intentionally homeless.
“This unfairly punishes people unfamiliar with the law or who are victims of bullying by rogue landlords.”
At last week’s demo, activists demanded that empty shops – of which there is no shortage in Glasgow – be opened to provide emergency shelter.
A spokesman for the city council said: “The death of Matthew Bloomer was a tragedy. It would be inappropriate to comment on the cause of death until a post mortem has been concluded.
“Our city centre street team works with rough sleepers every night to get them into support services, including to the winter shelter.
“The reasons for homelessness can be complex and moving on from a chaotic lifestyle can be very difficult, particularly if offers of support are declined.
“On any given night around 2000 people affected by homelessness are accommodated by the council.
“We have also recently opened two 32 emergency accommodation units at a cost of £12 million to go alongside existing emergency accommodation, various forms of supported accommodation and around 1500 temporary furnished flats.
“We will continue to work closely with the housing associations and the third sector to deliver innovative, tailored support for individuals and families affected by homelessness.
“Overall the number of people presenting as homeless in Glasgow has been in steady, long-term decline. The Housing Options approach is making a significant contribution to the effort to divert people away from homelessness.
“Our aim is always to see people return to mainstream housing as quickly as possible.”