Evening meals for homeless in hotels stopped by council

By Stewart Paterson

Political Correspondent

Evening meals for homeless in hotels stopped by council

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Evening meals for homeless people being accommodated in hotels in Glasgow have been stopped.

Glasgow City Council has been housing more people in hotels since the pandemic and providing them with breakfast lunch and an evening meal.

The policy has contributed to a reduction in rough sleeping in the city with the council reporting the number of people sleeping on the streets is down to single figures.

The evening meal was withdrawn last Monday, with breakfast and lunches still being provided.

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The operators of a soup kitchen in Glasgow city centre said they have noticed an increase in homeless people attending in the last week.

Colin McInnes, of Homeless Project Scotland, said: “We are concerned for people’s welfare, when they can’t afford a hot meal. These are people who can’t afford to buy food and the council is taking it away from them.”

Glasgow City Council has a legal duty under section 29 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 to provide emergency accommodation to those it believes are homeless and which the council must pay for in order to provide emergency homelessness provision as and when required.

The council said: “Due to the amount of wastage (of evening meals) and the general consensus of service users being they like the lunches and breakfast, we stopped the evening meals.”

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The provision of meals was brought in during the pandemic because “There was nowhere to go or open for people to access food due to lockdown”.

As well as hotels an Overnight Welcome Centre has been in operation in the city to replace to old winter night shelter.

People in the OWC, operated by Glasgow City Mission, have been accommodated in their own en suite rooms with food provided, instead of the old facility where up to 40 people slept on a mattress in a hall in the east end premises of the Lodging House Mission, also operated by Glasgow City Mission.

Earlier this year the Glasgow Times reported how the owners of two hotels, used by the council to accommodate homeless people were paid almost £2m over the last 10 years by the council.

The owners of the Alexander Thomson Hotel in Argyle Street and the Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Union Street were paid £1.85m.

The Alexander Thomson received the most with £1,575,364 paid to the owners and The Charles Rennie Mackintosh paid £275.047.