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Shelter crowd funds legal action over alleged failure by council to offer homeless people temporary accommodation

Housing charity Shelter Scotland is seeking to crowdfund legal action over what it says is Glasgow City Council’s unlawful failure to offer homeless people temporary accommodation.

It said this had happened more than 3,000 times last year.

Shelter Scotland said it would seek judicial review following “repeated engagement” with councillors and officials over alleged systemic failures within the city’s homelessness services.

The charity’s director Graeme Brown said: “Quite simply, enough is enough. The facts are clear; Glasgow City Council is breaking the law; homeless people are being forced onto the streets; officials are unable or unwilling to tackle the problem; and the numbers are getting worse not better.

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“This is a Glasgow problem that needs leadership from the top to tackle.”

Unless the dispute is settled, Shelter Scotland will try to raise funds to ask the court to declare that the council is acting unlawfully and should submit to Scottish Ministers a revised homelessness strategy that guarantees temporary accommodation for every homeless person that needs it.

Crowdfunding has so far raised just over half of the £15,000 that is Shelter Scotland’s target.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “Shelter’s own letter accepts that there may have been over reporting in Glasgow which demonstrates they know their accusation of gatekeeping is untrue.

“As they are well aware, there are significant pressures on our homelessness accommodation service and we are working with the Scottish Housing Regulator and partners in the third and housing sectors to tackle these challenges.

“Rather than raising money for court action – it would be helpful if Shelter worked constructively with us, to tackle the pressing issue of homelessness. We share a common aim and threats of legal action are an unhelpful distraction to this crucial work.”

The city council is having an ongoing conversation with the Scottish Government about the manner in which statistics are recorded across all local authorities, as the authority believes the figures suggest information is not being uniformly recorded countrywide.

Mark Smulian

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