Shelter Scotland launches legal action against council over rights of homeless
Housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland has today commenced legal action against Glasgow City Council. The charity is seeking a judicial review into the council’s practice of denying homeless people temporary accommodation.
The legal action follows engagement by Shelter Scotland with councillors and officials over several years to raise concerns about ‘gatekeeping’ activity and systemic failures within the city’s homelessness services.
This culminated in a high-profile protest in July 2018 that led to promises of improvements.
Shelter Scotland said, however, that official statistics published in July show that over the previous 12 months the situation has gotten worse, not better, with people forced back on the streets 3,365 times compared to 3,025 occasions the previous year.
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Time’s up Glasgow City Council. We are taking you to court. We are not taking this action lightly. We exist to fight for people’s rights to a decent home and to stop homelessness happening. By taking legal action we are trying to stop Glasgow City Council denying hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of people their right to a roof over their head.
“Rights are not a privilege - they are a legal entitlement enforceable by law and the council should not be allowed to disregard the law with impunity. We believe that if action isn’t taken now to stop this practice - and public bodies are left to pick and choose which laws they wish to follow - then it will undermine citizens’ rights across the board.
“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. So, we are taking them to court to put a stop to this unlawful practice once and for all.”
Shelter Scotland is asking the court to declare that Glasgow City Council is acting unlawfully and that it should prepare and submit to Scottish ministers a revised homelessness strategy that puts a plan in place to guarantee temporary accommodation for every homeless person that needs it.