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Glasgow: Refugee homelessness on the rise

The level of homeless refugees in Glasgow has risen, despite the downfall in Scottish homeless.

13 October 2008. The Scottish Government has published national figures on homelessness. Though the trend appears to be downward, there has been a rise in families living in temporary homelessness accommodation, with former asylum seekers particularly affected. The figures include blip in numbers of families in temporary accommodation, caused by a Home Office review which granted leave to remain to hundreds of former asylum seekers in Glasgow.

This brought great joy and relief for families, but it also brought extra pressures on local services as so many suddenly had their entitlement to Home Office support terminated and had to move on to mainstream homelessness services.

Extra Government funding and a partnership response put measures in place to ensure families were placed in temporary accommodation and could access benefits help, but questions remain as to what happens next, particularly for families with children.

Time spent in temporary homeless accommodation was one of the themes of the Shared Futures in Glasgow seminar, by Community InfoSource and Govan Housing Association’s Community Inclusion Co-ordinator.

A Question Time panel included the head of housing strategy at Glasgow City Council, the Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, a representative of the Poverty Alliance and Karibu refugee community organisation, and the Director of Govanhill H.A..

It revealed that the main problems facing refugees in Glasgow are the standard, cost and insecurity of temporary homeless accommodation, and of access to good information, advice and support. It heard from refugees who had been living in the temporary homeless limbo for years after grant of status.

Also under discussion at the event was the potential role of community-based housing associations – a role apparently undermined by the latest funding review. The audience got involved in a lively debate, and also had the chance to hear positive stories from trainees on the Door Step project, a multi-media housing advice and training scheme.

To read a report of the seminar, go to www.door-step.net

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