The private company Serco is contracted to provide housing while asylum applications are considered by the Home Office. Earlier this month it suddenly announced that it planned to evict those tenants who had exhausted the asylum process, and would begin to implement lock-changes for over 300 asylum seekers in Glasgow. Without enough alternative accommodation or services in Glasgow to cope, this would potentially leave many homeless and destitute.
The announcement brought considerable condemnation from across civil society and government, with large protests on the streets of Glasgow. Shelter and the Govan Law Centre have brought court challenges on the issue, and some of the housing associations involved said that they would block these moves and rehouse the asylum seekers immediately. Serco has now said it will halt evictions until court challenges bring clarity but campaigners are urging the Home Office to step in and ensure a permanent solution which protects individuals’ right to a home.
Meanwhile, Shelter Scotland has published a highly critical report highlighting ‘gatekeeping’ in Glasgow.
Shelter’s services across Scotland deal with approximately 25 cases per month where an individual seeks their advice having been turned away from a local authority’s homeless services and denied their legal right to support. This practice is known as “gatekeeping” and it is resulting in a growing number of people resorting to rough sleeping, sofa surfing, returning to situations where they are potentially at risk of violence, and other forms of insecure accommodation.
In January 2018, Shelter Scotland compiled a report on incidents of gatekeeping in Scotland. Localised versions of the gatekeeping report were sent to the relevant council officials and elected members of the local authorities, and Glasgow City Council were the only local authority to have not formally responded in the six months since they saw this report.
This new published report therefore focuses on the ‘gatekeeping’ problem in Glasgow specifically. Itd highlights that homelessness statistics for 2017-18 showed that last year, Glasgow failed to provide temporary accommodation over 3,000 times to households to whom they had a statutory duty.
You can read the full Shelter report here.
Image credit: Harry McGregor, Flickr