West End B&Bs used as halfway houses for the homeless

The policy of temporarily housing rough sleepers at B&Bs in Glasgow’s West End is being criticised for creating pockets of crime in the area.

The B&Bs are taking in homeless people on commission from Glasgow City Council until they can find permanent accommodation.

Ken Andrew, councillor for the Hillhead ward, said: “We do have major concerns with the use of B&B accommodation to support homeless individuals and those recently released from the Criminal Justice System.

“These two B&Bs are a locus for a wide variety of anti-social and illegal behaviours with very little social work input to act as a moderating influence.”

Local residents expressed concerns to members of Hillhead Community Council that occupants of these lodgings were the cause of an increase in drug dealing and street drinking.

Cllr Andrew criticised the city council response and called for the establishments to be closed unless they can be properly moderated.

However, he praised the council’s actions in addressing homelessness in other areas of the city, such as the introduction of a new unit on Rodney Street in Woodside.

According to statistics released by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland, 4,504 of households across Glasgow were assessed as homeless last year – 2,010 of which were in temporary housing.

While the focus has been on the negative impact of the homeless population on the local area, organisations that work to combat the causes and effects of homelessness, such as the Simon Community, are at pains to point out that these are vulnerable people who need assistance.

Director of services and development at the charity Hugh Hill said: ““We believe everyone should have a safe place to live and the support they need.

“We don’t want anyone sleeping rough, it’s simply not safe or healthy.”

The Simon Community offers alternative solutions to those offered by the council, such as the soon to be launched Glasgow Nightstop, a service which calls for volunteers with a spare room to take in those that have no room at all until they can get back on their feet.

 

Photo: Ianan, Flickr Creative Commons

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