Glasgow City Mission’s Winter Night Shelter is expecting a surge in users this January.
The number of individuals using this service has increased year-on-year, with 2017 expected to continue the trend. Numbers typically increase in January as relationships come into trouble after Christmas. This is seen to be particularly dangerous when paired with the season's bad weather.
Last winter, the shelter was used almost twice as much as the previous year – showing an increase of 94%, with up to 605 individual people staying a record 4060 times. This increase was reported across the UK by other charities.
Grant Campbell, Glasgow City Mission Chief Executive, said: “We believe no one should ever have to sleep rough on our city streets but sadly we know from experience that this occurs all too often. During the harsh winter months, it is simply too cold and too dangerous for some of our most vulnerable citizens with complex needs. Together with our partners, we want to provide a safe, warm and welcoming space for those who are forced to sleep rough in the city.”
The Winter Shelter aims to tackle the root causes of homelessness in addition to providing immediate support. Guests are served breakfast and are informed of other support services across Glasgow. The shelter’s volunteers and staff are also trained to attempt to understand the reasons for each individual’s situation. They also connect people to Glasgow City Council’s homelessness caseworkers who, for the first time, are present at the shelter this year.
By providing these foundations, the Glasgow City Mission aims not just to give people a place to stay this winter, but to put them on the path to a future where they have a place to stay permanently.
The project was started 7 years ago and has been widely praised. It also placed as a finalist in the Herald Society Awards in both 2014 and 2016.
The Winter Night Shelter has been supported by the high-profile “sleep-out” events at Ibrox Stadium, organised by the Rangers Charity Foundation. The event raised £70,000 last year and just over £50,000 this year.
The extra money has enabled the shelter to remain open an extra month both this year and last year. The shelter is open until 31 March 2017.