GLASGOW City Council are looking to identify furnished flats to be used as temporary accommodation to allow homeless people to self-isolate.

It comes after we revealed fears of deaths on our streets over a lack of support for homeless people to combat coronavirus.

The official Government's advice to stop any potential outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 disease is to regularly wash your hands or self-isolate yourself if you are showing symptoms.

But those options are virtually impossible for the city’s rough sleepers.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow homeless shelter fears over infections within rough sleepers

The revelations come as the Winter Night Shelter, run by the Glasgow City Mission, is set to close at the end of the month.

Chief executive at the charity, Charles Maasz, said some health care teams and legal services have already stopped offering support at the shelter over infection fears.

He said: “Some of our concerns during the week have been centred around the wellbeing of those who present as homeless but who are also exhibiting signs of infection.

"The situation that nobody wants to see is that a person presents late at night but then cannot be accommodated by us due to risks of transference amongst the wider night shelter population.

“Also of concern has been the readiness of other front line support services to withdraw or scale-back engagement at the Shelter on the basis of health risks to staff.

“This, on one level is understandable, however it places additional burdens on those who will not so readily pull up the drawbridges and leave the marginalised out in the cold.

"Some health practitioners who visit our shelter were the first to stop coming, some of the legal services too.”



READ MORE: Coronavirus: Greater Glasgow hits 44 cases as 171 positive for COVID-19 in Scotland

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said contingency plans are being put in place to reduce the risk to vulnerable homeless people.

She said: “Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) is busy putting in place contingency plans to reduce risk to vulnerable homeless people, many of whom have underlying health conditions. 

"This involves working with a range of stakeholders including Police Scotland and those concerned with housing and health. 

"As well as third sector partners like the Simon Community. This is a charity we work closely with, whose Street Team build up relationships with rough sleepers. 

"We’re currently identifying temporary furnished flats that would allow people to self-isolate if necessary as well as self- contained spaces within communal accommodation.”

Mr Maasz also raised concerns about plans to reduce day centre services, currently understood to be under discussion, and a reduction in volunteer numbers.

But he added: “We are actively discouraging any form of potentially harmful heroism and urge best practice for the sake of all vulnerable groups, but we also believe that we can maintain our services.”

Sean Clerkin of the Scottish Tenant's Organisation has now written to council leader Susan Aitken demanding the council takes action to help a potential influx of 40 rough sleepers.

READ MORE: Coronavirus 'deaths on Glasgow's streets' fears over lack of support for homeless

He wrote: "The winter night shelter for the homeless on East Campbell Street is set to shut down in the near future on March 31.

"Given the outbreak of coronavirus, surely Glasgow City Council can offer all those currently using the forty beds there individual accommodation that offers washing facilities and self-isolation if needed.

"In relation to rough sleepers on our streets the offer of hand sanitiser and an information leaflet is grossly insufficient and that the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council should be giving emergency self-contained accommodation to our rough sleepers to self isolate if they need to.  

"They should also be given access to medical advice and assistance given their underlying health conditions in relation to the coronavirus.

"We all need to work together to help the homeless during this period of crisis and that means you in the council committing more resources to help the homeless one of our most vulnerable groups."

When previously approached by the Glasgow Times regarding the issue of homelessness and coronavirus, a Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are working closely with local authorities to support all vulnerable groups, including homeless people, and are considering what additional measures we need to put in place to address their needs.

"As part of this, we have also been working directly with our frontline partners to see what additional measures can be put in place to address the needs of people who are sleeping rough. 

"The Housing Minister and Public Health Minister are meeting to discuss the issue with key partners at a meeting of the Homelessness a Prevention and Strategy Group on Tuesday."