In the early hours of Friday 28th April, staff and volunteers from Simon Community Scotland were joined by 14 volunteers from a variety of partners across the city to assess the number of people rough sleeping across Glasgow.
Volunteers were made up of support from 10 agencies including – HSPC Homeless Casework, Glasgow City Mission, Police Scotland, NHS, Help the Homeless Glasgow, The Marie Trust, HSPC Housing First, Lodging House Mission, Crisis Outreach Team and The Invisibles.
Thank you to all the other charities & organisations who helped to check & cover miles of lanes, streets, nooks and crannies last night. We greatly appreciate your friendship, experience, partnership and support.
Our own Street Team work 365 days a year and we report on rough sleeping figures on a weekly basis. Last week (w/c 17/04/23) our team reported 9 people sleeping rough. Our Street Team & Access Hub prevented a further 39 people from sleeping rough, supporting them into emergency or temporary accommodation.
Official statistics show the number of people in temporary homeless accommodation also increased to more than 6,600 across Glasgow, including around 700 people living in hotel and B & B rooms. The pressures on the system continue to increase however the effective mutliagency partnerships that continue to develop are ensuring we are able to continue to provide care, support and offers of emergency accommodation for everyone at the moment
On the night
The weather was cloudy with light showers and a temperature of 8 degrees.
All staff and volunteers received a H&S briefing and were provided with emergency contact numbers and split into 10 groups of 2. 2 staff members stayed in the office and the teams called in every 20/30 minutes to provide updates on their whereabouts, what streets/areas had been covered and recording any findings. All teams had one staff member trained in Naloxone and as such, every team had a kit with them, they were also provided with a torch and map of areas to cover.
Number of rough sleepers identified
During the course of the count we identified 10 people rough sleeping in the city. All were known to our team and everyone was offered the appropriate information and support. If people were bedded down and sleeping we were careful not to disturb them but make sure they were okay. All of the people rough sleeping were known to the team and in most cases accommodation was available but the people didn’t feel able to accept it at this time.
As in previous counts, there was evidence of some begging activity where sleeping bags and mats were stored for the following day. Some injecting sites were also identified for teams to follow up.
Contact was made with NCP and QPark who advised no rough sleepers but have reports of activity during the day of drug use. A dedicated team was assigned to specific car parks to aboslutely ensure that we were not missing anyone
Parks and Gardens
No recent intelligence about rough sleeping or activity in parks so teams did not enter. Knowledge of one rough sleeper within Glasgow green, which was logged.
We engage regularly with local police and HSCP Neighbourhoods and Sustainability and local housing associations to discuss rough sleeping in their areas. This is mainly focussed on closes and bin sheds. No recent intelligence about specific bin sheds etc to target.
Accuracy of Count
There is always the likelihood that we would not find everyone as some people make great efforts to be undetected. Similarly, there is a possibility that people might be in more remote locations outside the city centre, some of which may be in parks and cemeteries, although we have had no reported sightings. We did identify some potential rough sleeping sights in the Finnieston area, although no persons were present, teams will monitor.
What does this tell us?
Numbers are still relatively low with accommodation available across the city, although slightly higher than in November. This could be due to better weather conditions and rise in footfall within the city for revenue purposes.
- Maintain regular links with parks and recreation and NCP Car parks.
- Monitor rough sleeping sights.
- Continue welfare checks on known rough sleepers.
Our Street Team, Helpline and Access Hub
Our Glasgow Street Team work 7-days per week from 7am-11pm, building relationships and trust with people who are rough sleeping, or at risk of rough sleeping in the city. This includes people who regularly beg in Glasgow and people who are staying in B&Bs, hostels and hotels in the city centre.
Our Access Hub, located at 389 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8LR, is open 7-days a week from 9am-5pm (10am start on Wednesday for staff training) providing information, care, advice and support.
Our Helpline 0800 027 7466 is available 24-hours a day for people to access information, or for members of the public to alert us to people they are concerned about.
By Elaine Barrett, Service Lead, RSVP Street Team