Glasgow charity fork out for flats to stop ‘revolving door of homelessness’

Glasgow City Mission will buy ten flats across the city for their most vulnerable tenants with the first to move in by Christmas

A charity in Scotland has taken the radical step to buy up property themselves to tackle homelessness.

Glasgow City Mission have opted to purchase ten flats around the city to house some of the most vulnerable who have called on them for aid.

The homes will be funded via donations from charity supporters while local social enterprise letting agency Homes for Good will deal with tenants.

It is expected that the first tenants could move in by Christmas.

Glasgow City Mission will identify tenants working with them under the umbrella of the City Ambition Network (CAN) – a collaborative network comprised of the charity, Simon Community Scotland, Marie Trust, Turning Point Scotland and the Health & Social Care Partnership (NHS and Glasgow City Council).

The accommodation model will follow the successful Housing First concept, a scheme that fast-tracked homeless people who are over 18 years of age and involved in drug misuse into mainstream social housing with 24-hour support.

A radical new approach is needed if we are to see long-term vulnerable people exit the revolving door of homelessness

Piloted initially in Glasgow by Turning Point Scotland, the project has proven to eradicate homelessness in parts of North America and Scandinavia where it has been implemented, according to the charity.

They also claim that the growing visibility of homelessness and a rising number of drug deaths across Glasgow are behind the move.

Grant Campbell, chief executive of Glasgow City Mission said: “Many of the highly vulnerable people we work are often caught in a revolving door that sees people lose their tenancy, find themselves on the streets, prison or hospital, and then spend a long time working their way back through the system to receive new accommodation again, only for the cycle to start again.

“Our staff team and our supporters have been frustrated by the bureaucracy and steps needed to be taken by vulnerable people in Glasgow to receive and sustain accommodation. Thanks to our generous supporters, we are delighted to be in a position to change this system for initially a small group of the city’s most chaotic and disadvantaged people by purchasing new homes for people and providing much needed support.

Social housing

“Housing First turns the city’s existing accommodation model on its head. No longer will people need to progress through different types of accommodation before they are deemed suitable and trustworthy to have their own permanent tenancy. Instead, they will receive their house first as the name suggests and then the necessary wraparound support to sustain the tenancy.

“Crucially, this support is flexible and tailored to the needs of the individual, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Having the stability of a home that is yours means people take a sense of ownership of it and are less likely to return to the streets.

“A radical new approach is needed if we are to see long-term vulnerable people exit the revolving door of homelessness. If we can see something of the success of Housing First from other parts in the world come to fruition in Glasgow, our city and its people can flourish once again.”

Similar schemes have been launched around the UK in recent years.

Homelessness charity Broadway first financed purchase of 250 one-and-two-bed flats across London in 2012.

In 2015, a £10m fund was set up to buy 50 houses in Oxford while Northern Irish charity Extern pledged to do the same in support of 380 families a year later.