At our annual conference in 2018 Baroness Casey of Blackstock (at that time Dame Louise Casey) announced that Glasgow would take a leading role in a new global programme to end street homelessness by 2030. The ‘A Place to Call Home’ initiative is led by the Institute of Global Homelessness (IGH) based in Chicago, which Baroness Casey chairs.
Eventually drawing in 150 global cities, the starting point was pioneering work undertaken by a small group of 12 Vanguard Cities working to achieve specific targets by 2020. Glasgow was part of that group with a target to reduce by 75 per cent the number of people sleeping rough every week in the city centre and cut by 50 per cent those sleeping rough across Glasgow each year.
Along with Sydney in Australia, Glasgow has fully met its targets. The COVID-19 pandemic had varying effects on the Vanguard Cities and in several areas the pandemic presented an opportunity to point significant resources towards effectively ending and preventing homelessness in the short-term through the use of hotel rooms, eviction moratoria and enhanced financial support. In Scotland, both Glasgow and Edinburgh used the opportunity to end the use of communal shelters altogether.
Among the success factors identified by the IGH is Housing First and the wraparound support that accompanies it. Other significant positives include rapid access to settled housing and, where that is not available immediately, a decent emergency accommodation offer. Assertive street outreach services were also important along with access to mental health support.
More information at the Institute for Global Homelessness here.