THIS week I was moved to tears when my colleague, Cllr Jon Molyneux, showed me photos of workers on a cherry picker after the fire in Pollokshields. In the midst of carnage, one man’s book collection had survived, and Jon was able to ensure that the man was reunited with not just his books but his precious Qur’an. It’s easy to lose sight of the humanity of individuals when crisis strikes – but as the community of Pollokshields has shown over the past week, Glaswegians never fail to meet disaster with an outpouring of solidarity and practical support.

We’re going to be needing huge amounts of both over the next few weeks, with a humanitarian crisis on the horizon. Unbelievably, Serco’s brutal lock change evictions have been ruled lawful, and this puts more than a hundred people at immediate risk of being homeless and destitute. People in the asylum system have exactly the same human needs as those who survived that fire – to be warm and dry, to access healthcare, to have shelter. To be treated as worthy of dignity and care. Instead, having escaped war and persecution, having been stripped of their right to access normal homelessness services, and having now reached the end of the line in court, a group of people faces the prospect of survival on our streets. We cannot let this happen.

Just because something is lawful doesn’t make it right. Like the cruelty of welfare sanctions or the assessments foisted on disabled people, the Home Office’s hostile environment is another tentacle of the UK state bringing evil into people’s lives in the most mundane, form-filled ways. The UK asylum system has destitution built in – a scandal that should be reason enough to scrap the whole thing and start again. We should be able to build a new Scottish immigration system that guarantees humanity, dignity and a fair hearing. But this crisis can’t wait for us to sort out constitutional issues. In the current process, people get to the end and are left with nowhere to go. That’s not Glasgow’s fault, or solely within our gift to change – but how we choose to respond is.

There are legal impediments to what the council can do, but surely these are extraordinary circumstances? There is now a very real risk of people disappearing underground, being forced into exploitation or freezing to death outside. Which groups of people merit an emergency response?

This devastating court ruling was a long time in the works. Glasgow’s asylum justice organisations and lawyers worked themselves to the bone to buy extra time with legal protections, but those protections will now end.

The Scottish Government promised a year ago to respond on how to support people with no recourse to public funds.

The council said it would explore this last December. Now, we’re out of time.

The council must stop hand-wringing and work with community experts to build a proper Glaswegian response to this crisis.

Kim Long is a councillor for the Scottish Green Party