Glasgow City Council accused of acting ‘unlawfully’ over housing of homeless

A delegation of previously homeless people deliver a copy of a lawyer's letter to Glasgow City Council.
A delegation of previously homeless people deliver a copy of a lawyer's letter to Glasgow City Council.

Glasgow City Council has been accused by a housing charity of acting “unlawfully” in denying homeless people temporary accommodation.

Shelter Scotland has sent a letter to the Council calling on it to end the practice and avoid court action.

It was delivered yesterday to the City Chambers by people who had previously experienced homelessness as part of the charity’s The People v Glasgow City Council campaign.

The charity has prepared a legal case to seek a judicial review at the Court of Session in the event of no response from the Council, as well as a crowdfunder in support of the case.

Graeme Brown, Shelter Scotland director, said: “Quite simply, enough is enough. The facts are clear; Glasgow City Council is breaking the law; homeless people are being forced on to the streets; officials are unable or unwilling to tackle the problem; and the numbers are getting worse not better.

“This is a Glasgow problem that needs leadership from the top to tackle. When Shelter Scotland supporters protested outside the City Chambers last year, we were hopeful that things would get better. Instead the numbers have gone up during a year when 47 people have died on Glasgow’s streets.

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

“If action is not taken to end this practice and public bodies can pick and choose which laws they wish to follow, then it will undermine citizens’ rights across the board.

“If the judicial review goes ahead then Shelter Scotland will ask the court to declare that Glasgow City Council are acting unlawfully and that they should prepare and submit to Scottish ministers a revised homelessness strategy that puts a plan in place to guarantee temporary accommodation for every homeless person that needs it.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “As they [Shelter] are well aware, there are significant pressures on our homelessness accommodation service and we are working with the Scottish Housing Regulator and partners in the third and housing sectors to tackle these challenges.

“Rather than raising money for court action it would be helpful if Shelter worked constructively with us to tackle the pressing issue of homelessness.

“We share a common aim and threats of legal action are an unhelpful distraction to this crucial work.”

Tam Lyon was one of the delegation that delivered the lawyer’s letter to the council.

He said: “I know how difficult it is to get the support you need when you are dealing with homelessness.

“Simple things like where to stay that night become impossible and it is easy to think nobody cares.”