Charity Group Accuses Glasgow City Council Of Denying Shelter To Homeless People

Shelter Scotland is seeking a judicial review into the council’s "unlawful" failure to provide temporary accommodation.
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Housing and homelessness charity, Shelter Scotland, has launched legal action against Glasgow City Council citing a failure to provide homeless people accommodation.

Describing the practice as “unlawful”, a charity spokesperson said it is seeking a judicial review into the matter.

It’s the first time Shelter Scotland has taken such action against a local authority. The charity said that on 3,365 occasions last year, Glasgow City Council failed to provide accommodation for those in need.

On Wednesday, Shelter Scotland confirmed to HuffPost UK that this move comes after the council failed to respond to a pre-action letter, sent on August 19, warning of legal action unless it responded appropriately by September 30.

Graeme Brown, the charity’s director, said that by taking this measure, the charity aims to hold the local authority to account.

“Time’s up Glasgow City Council. We are taking you to court! We are not taking this action lightly. We exist to fight for people’s rights to a decent home and to stop homelessness happening,” he said.

“Rights are not a privilege – they are a legal entitlement enforceable by law, and the council should not be allowed to disregard the law with impunity.”

“We believe that if action isn’t taken now to stop this practice – and public bodies are left to pick and choose which laws they wish to follow – then it will undermine citizens’ rights across the board.”

“The facts are clear; Glasgow City Council is breaking the law; homeless people are being forced onto the streets; officials are unable or unwilling to tackle the problem; and the numbers are getting worse not better,” he added.

Since threatening court action, the charity says it has been contacted by dozens more homeless people denied their rights to temporary accommodation by the local authority.

Shelter Scotland also launched a crowdfunding campaign at the end of August, to help meet the legal costs, which has so far raised over £15,000.

Recent official statistics show that over the previous twelve months homelessness has worsened in Glasgow; there were 10,989 households in temporary accommodation as at March 31, an increase of 56 households since last year.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman told HuffPost UK: “Glasgow faces significant – and in a Scottish context, perhaps unique – pressures on our homelessness accommodation, and we continue to work with the Scottish Housing Regulator and partners in the housing and third sectors to help those facing homelessness and the threat of homelessness.

“We share a common aim with Shelter and, rather than focusing on court action, we would hope it could work together with the council and its partners to ensure that these challenges are met.”


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