Glasgow set to declare housing emergency amid homelessness crisis

Councillors have expressed concern about a Home Office decision on 2,500 asylum claims in Glasgow by the end of the year.

Glasgow set to declare housing emergency amid homelessness crisis iStock

Glasgow is set to officially declare a housing emergency after a decision by the Home Office to speed up thousands of asylum claims by the end of the year.

Councillors will meet on Thursday morning to vote on a motion warning the UK Government’s decision to send up to 2,500 people to the city could spark a homelessness crisis.

Glasgow City Council has said the plans could prompt thousands of homeless applications over the next two months and cost the city’s “already stretched” homelessness service more than £53m.

The UK Government confirmed it will not be providing funding to councils to help manage the costs.

Councillors have asked the city’s Administration Committee to “acknowledge the severe pressures that Glasgow City Council and the Health and Social Care Partnership are facing, and formally declare the pressures are such that they constitute a housing emergency”.

They have urged the Council to continue lobbying the UK and Scottish governments for more funding and “legislative changes” needed to respond to the crisis.

Councillor Allan Casey, city convenor for workforce, homelessness and addiction, said: “The pressures we are facing constitute an emergency and we agree with partners that we urgently need resources to help us deal with them.

“We are calling on the Scottish Government to give further resource in their budget later this year, which Glasgow is ready and able to direct at pace.

“We also need the UK Government to pause their unconscionable asylum-batching decisions, which is already causing homelessness and destitution, until they work with us to get a proper plan in place to do this properly, and agree to fully fund the consequences of their action.”

It comes after statistics released on Tuesday that showed 244 people had died while homeless in Scotland in 2022.

The number represents a significant increase from 2017 when 164 people died.

Glasgow and Edinburgh – which has already declared a housing emergency – were the two worst areas for such deaths.

On Tuesday, it was also revealed that private rents in Glasgow had soared by 22% in a single year to more than £1,000 a month – the highest rise anywhere in Scotland.

Scottish housing minister Paul McLennan said: “The recent decision by the Home Office to fast track the asylum backlog is poorly thought out and has left local authorities unable to plan – putting many people at risk of rough sleeping and destitution.

“Migration and Refugees Minister Emma Roddick has written to the UK Government to ask it to bring forward funding for local authorities to manage this pressure.

“The housing sector across the UK was already feeling the impact of sky-high interest rates and inflation caused by the mini-budget and Brexit.

“Despite that, since 2007 Scotland has led the UK in housing with 123,985 affordable homes delivered since 2007, including over 87,000 for social rent. We are making available £3.5 billion over this parliamentary term to support delivery of 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, 70% of which will be for social rent.

“I have regularly met with representatives from Scotland’s local authorities and have actively engaged with them to find solutions to help address housing pressures in their area.”

The Home Office has been approached for comment.

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