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Glasgow’s Winter Night Shelter, led by Glasgow City Mission, has been helping to provide shelter to the homeless since 2010. For the last few years, the shelter has had a broad range of partners including the local Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP).
Glasgow City Mission are the lead organisation and fund the shelter entirely from their own resources, with other partners contributing their services to the shelter for free, thereby enabling the overall service to achieve greater outcomes for guests staying at the shelter. As well as Glasgow City Council housing officers, partners include Simon Community Scotland, Lodging House Mission, Govan Law Centre, Shelter Scotland, Police Scotland, City Ambition Network, Healing for the Heart, Marie Trust, as well as many other funders and supporters. It has been this overall partnership, especially with HSCP staff, that has been transformational.
In 2018, two council caseworkers were at the shelter every night from 10pm until midnight, putting themselves in the places where homeless people are, seeing them on their terms. At the shelter, they supported people with their homelessness and accommodation claims. This innovation meant the move-on rate from the temporary accommodation provided by the shelter was much higher than it had previously been, with 70% staying for just three nights or less. Furthermore, an impressive 74% of guests had a positive outcome: an offer of accommodation or returning to friends and family.
The partnership has been aided by the positive relationships established by the lead agencies over a number of years – especially between Glasgow City Mission and the HSCP. It is this mature working relationship which allows a working partnership to be established that in turn produces significant results for guests. Phil Wray, Head of Projects at Glasgow City Mission, believes that other localities may benefit from exploring similar partnerships in their own areas. Glasgow Winter Night Shelter witnessed significant improvements in outcomes for its users because of this partnership, and they are happy to share the learning with any other agency who would be interested.