Glasgow’s homeless night shelter is to be replaced with a new service aimed at getting people into homes quickly.

The new rapid rehousing welcome centre for rough sleepers is part of a new government approach to tackling homelessness.

The Scottish Government said the centres, one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh, will provide emergency accommodation for people who have no other options, encouraging them to move on to other services.

It said people using the centres will be offered targeted support, including for wellbeing, health and social care issues, legal rights, employment and welfare.

The centres are part of plans to phase out night shelters entirely by expanding rapid rehousing approaches such as Housing First that provide settled accommodation as quickly as possible.  

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, said: “Our vision is of a Scotland with no need for night shelters – where everyone has a home that meets their needs.

“Since our plan for tackling homelessness was first published in 2018 we have delivered on many of the urgent issues facing homeless people. The Scottish Government’s swift response to coronavirus (COVID-19) has led to a dramatic reduction in the numbers of people sleeping rough and we must not let the problem return.

“This updated action plan renews our commitment to ending homelessness and rough sleeping once and for all, particularly by expanding services such as Housing First that provide longer-term accommodation and give homeless people the time and space to establish new lives for themselves.

“We are also placing even greater emphasis on preventing homelessness in the first place, and our new rapid rehousing welcome centres and are a first step to ending the use of night shelters altogether.”

The plan will mean an end to the use of large halls with mattresses on the floor for dozens of people each night.

Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive at Homeless Network Scotland, said:  “The night shelter providers, Glasgow City Mission and Bethany Christian Trust in Edinburgh, have worked closely with the two city councils and the Scottish Government to provide self-contained, en-suite rooms with rapid links to housing, welfare and support services.

“These Rapid Rehousing Welcome Centres will transform the rough sleeping safety net and I want to thank our third sector and local authority colleagues for such a progressive achievement.”