Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Close for comfort?

May 24 2009
Vast majority of ex-residents of James Duncan House and Peter McCann House are now better off A one-day conference at Glasgow City Chambers assessed the impact of the closure of two hostels for homeless men in Glasgow. The results indicate a significant improvement in the lives of the majority of former residents. Based on extensive interviews with ex-residents and homelessness service providers, attendees include Lord Provost Bob Winter and Ms Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Well-Being, as well as a number of renowned homelessness and housing professionals. The Glasgow Hostel Closure and Re-provisioning programme ended last March, with the closure of James Duncan House; with the earlier closures of Robertson House in February 2005 and Peter McCann House in September 2006, the city lost nearly 700 hostel beds. These were replaced by a much wider range of emergency and supported accommodation projects, with specific support for people with addictions, mental health issues, learning disabilities, old age and alcohol-related brain damage. Of these, 620 beds are now provided in small scale units, while 4,100 households supported by 24 floating support services in either emergency, temporary or permanent accommodation. The number of temporary flats in the city has trebled from 600 to 1,800 over the course of the programme. A reported 82 per cent of ex-residents were happy with accommodation after leaving the hostel, while 83 per cent indicated their lives were 'much better' or 'better' than when they had been living in a hostel. Lord Provost Bob Winter welcomed the findings of the evaluation and believes they can provide the basis for future work. He said: "The Council and, in particular, Glasgow Homelessness Partnership can be very pleased with the results of these studies. A huge effort has gone into transforming our provision for those unfortunate to become homeless in recent times. The difference between what was offered five years ago and what is offered now is quite stark." Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: "The re-provisioned services in Glasgow will be an important touchstone as we move towards the 2012 homelessness target across Scotland." Follow-up research is due to begin later this year and this will include further interviews with all of the 89 ex-residents who participated so far.