A lack of Glasgow social housing available for homeless people is contributing to a £5m service overspend to make sure families have places to stay.
Demand for social housing is “outstripping local supply” in the city meaning some people without anywhere to live have to stay in “more expensive” bed and breakfasts.
More people have been presenting themselves as homeless in Glasgow as the economy is hit by the cost of living crisis and the impact of the pandemic.
Last year there were more than 12,000 emergency accommodation places offered in Glasgow, a meeting heard.
The overspend on homelessness services emerged in a budget monitoring report up to the end of September presented to the Glasgow City Integration Joint Board last week.
A table on predicted out-turn for the end of this year said the overspend in the homelessness service is estimated to be £5.2m according to the report.
The report said: “The Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) will continue to work with registered social landlords (RSL’s) to secure the provision of accommodation, however at this stage demand is outstripping local supply requiring us to seek more expensive alternatives in the short term.”
Covid funding has been used to help meet cost demands but that will end this year – leaving a “significant financial challenge” for 2023 to 2024 according to the report.
It also said the service is “responding to the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees.”
Actions to address issues include more staff to accelerate people’s move from bed and breakfast to temporary furnished flats. There is also a push to investigate “charging arrangements relating to historical storage of service user’s furniture and personal belongings upon leaving temporary accommodation.”
Sharon Wearing, HSCP chief officer, finance and resources, told the meeting: “The key thing is to support people through homelessness and move them through the system a bit quicker and also try and reduce some of our costs. “When we have people in some of the bed and breakfast accommodation etc. it is a higher cost to us so if we can get people moved through the system it reduces that cost.
The finance chief added: “We recognise we are at a challenging stage with the accommodation that is available. It is not through lack of effort through the RSLs. They have been doing their bit. We are seeing a real challenge on accommodation availability across the city, which is why we have flagged that this isn’t likely to be resolved this financial year. We are expecting to see some pressure going into the next financial year.”
She pointed out gas and electricity costs in temporary furnished flats have also increased.
Pointing out there is a winter resilience plan for homelessness, HSCP chief officer Susanne Millar, said a recent count undertaken by the Simon Community showed there were “seven rough sleepers in the city.”
She said there is a winter response for people in “particularly difficulty” and “rough sleeping” numbers continue to be “low.”