Matty's Law- Calling for Immediate Reform in Scotland's Homeless System
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Glasgow City Council are the local government body of the city of Glasgow in Scotland. The current seats are held by Labour Councillors
Party Councillor Seats 2016
Scottish National Party
Scottish Green 4
Liberal Democrat 1
Glasgow City Council are currently in charge of the Homeless System within the city and are therefore responsible for the failures in the system and the deaths of our rough sleepers whose deaths are not always disclosed to the public. The fundamental issues are that the Casework Teams who deal directly with the public are not monitored or held accountable for their actions unlike the housing associations who are monitored by the Scottish Housing Regulator to ensure fair practice.
There have been reports of;
1. People from other Scottish Towns & Cities being refused help and left to sleep on the streets when displaced foreigners are being accommodated through the asylum casework teams based in the Hamish Allen Centre.
2. Being totally disrespectful and speaking to people abruptly and treating them in an inhumane manner.
3. Lying to homeless clients.
4. Leaving children as young as 6 & 8 on the streets and sleeping in cars despite this being illegal.
5. Purposely holding up the paperwork process.
6. Failing to return calls to clients for months (28+ outstanding callbacks at any given time).
7. Bidding on unsuitable housing on behalf of families and discharging children back onto the street if the family refuse the unsuitable property that they are being forced into.
8. Families and young children are unsettled and forced to remain in temporary accommodation for years
9.Victimising and Bullying Clients
10. High rental charges for a temporary accommodation. i.e. An average Family Sized Council House normally carries a £360 monthly rental charge. THE SAME HOUSE, IN THE SAME STREET, that is rented through the homeless casework team carries a rental charge of £800 per month! (houses that are usually dirty and in disrepair) The reason? Because of service charges...Yet the council WILL NOT disclose what those exact charges are.
11. No PAT test on supplied electrical goods, boilers 20+ years old, cookers broken and not secured to the wall (not complying with safety standards when children living in the accommodation)
12. People who are in full time employment cannot afford the homeless rents and are "ADVISED BY THE CASEWORK TEAM" to give up their jobs (which is detrimental to our economy and benefits system) or rent through a private landlord which they usually can't afford.
13. Woman fleeing domestic abuse are put in hostels with males most of whom have alcohol or drug dependency
14. The homeless B&B's run by private landlords are filthy and in disrepair.
We have written statements, emails, recorded calls as proof of the above aforementioned and have shared with the head of social justice but to no avail. We are happy to share these documents and ask the people quoted in the report to attend discussion for the avoidance of doubt...
We are demanding change and a complete overhaul of the system and the implementation of new policies and procedures to be formally recognised and named as "Matty's Law" as a mark of respect for Matthew Bloomer the 28 years old rough sleeper who died on the streets of Glasgow in freezing conditions on the 21st of March 2017. Matthew was sleeping on the streets of Glasgow because he was from Aberdeen and Glasgow City Council refused to take responsibility for him as he was from another city within Scotland and therefore they were not obliged to offer him assistance or accommodation.
We the undersigned petition the council to implement Matty's Law with immediate effect and to adhere to the demands of the public to make the following changes to the Homeless Sector within Glasgow and surrounding council areas.
1. STAFFING- A complete overhaul of the ineffective staff currently in operation, from the management in charge of the homeless sector, right down to the ineffective caseworkers who have become completely desensitised to the vulnerable member of society. These people need to be completely removed from this sector, an independent investigation into their practises, each member of staff needs to be held accountable and if required dismissed from employment for misconduct as a public servant, and more qualified, compassionate management and caseworkers drafted in.
2. FUNDING- A full funding review of all groups and charities that work within the homeless sector, especially those that have received long term funding and operate from large prestigious offices locations around the regions as they are clearly not making a difference. The funding should be allocated to a more robust set up to open and staff the unused buildings within the city as opposed to temporary shelters that close down in March when conditions are still freezing...
3. RENTAL PRICES- Rental charges NEED to be reduced to the same as the council rents with immediate effect. All outsourced services already receive council funding and that can be a condition of award when new applications are submitted.
4. MONITORING- The homeless sector worker HAVE to be monitored to ensure they are sticking to legislation and the law and that the current corruption within the service stops! Each member of staff from the casework team to the management team need to be held accountable for their actions and failures. An independent regulatory body to audit them on a yearly basis
5. SYSTEMS- An IT system needs to be put in place to ensure that
:All calls are logged
:All calls are recorded
:Automatic staff ID and date logged when a clients account is accessed/updated
:Automatic wrap up service unable to close client file until notes are added
:Call return to client and logged on system within 48hours otherwise the system recognises as urgent and is flagged to management system
:Housing Associations and Mental Health workers to have access to clients notes with separate tab for them to enter information, to update clients on the progress of an application etc. and take the call pressure off the casework team and to ensure communication and continuity
6. DELAYS- stop the delays in processing Section 5's. Reduce from 3 months to 4 weeks by linking the systems and having the housing associations and mental health workers able to access the same data to allow them to update and share information instantaneously. If a client has had a Section 38 referral refused and presents in person then the information from the Section 38 is to be used as proof that the client did not intentionally make themselves homeless and therefore an immediate Section 5 is granted.
Electrical goods to be PAT tested before each tenant entry. Property to be inspected and cleaned before entry. Smart meters and keys for ALL doors (internal and all external ) to be provided. Furniture to be replaced if dirty or damaged and tenant to be accountable for damages, carpets to be cleaned, curtains to be cleaned and to fit the windows.
All contracts and living conditions with current B&B's owners to be reviewed, healthy and safety checks carried out on a 6monthly basis until a long term plan can be implemented to eradicate all use of these facilities.
: EMPTY BUILDINGS
An independent review (open to public scrutiny at all times during each stage) of current funding to homeless groups, charities and projects. Money saved and reallocated to go towards refurbishing empty buildings into individual rooms/single occupancy flats which are monitored by groups, charities and projects that used to receive or have had funding reduced to ensure the said groups still operate but the conditions of the award mean working directly with the homeless people to reduce the duplicate advisory and administration services that we currently have. Some may house drugs users and alcohol dependency to offer immediate rehabilitation and the reduction of home made opiates saving costs to the NHS and Police services.
Others buildings can be used to rehabilitate long term rough sleepers back into society and work and teach them how to budget, shop, and how to actually cope with living in accommodation to prevent them ending up back on the streets. Other accommodations can be used to house rough sleepers from other towns and cities until the neighbouring council can locate family assistance or accommodate them in temporary accommodation within their own cities unless they are fleeing for safety or to rehabilitate from drug or alcohol dependency and the circle that enable temptation.
To ensure family homes are build as opposed to the 1&2 bed flats to prevent families with children being trapped and unsettled in a T.F.F. For more than 12 months.
To house people in like for like areas. Not to take families with children from a stable environment and house them in deprived areas which cause fear and alarm and have a detrimental affect on their emotional and mental health and well being .
Send a request form to single occupants, elderly or couples occupying family homes offering them the opportunity to move into smaller accommodation freeing up larger properties.
8. CLIENT HEALTH AND WELLBEING-
ALL clients to be treated with respect and dignity, all mental and physical health needs to be logged and taken into account when rehousing, all rehabilitation programmes to be monitored and regulated by independent bodies to ensure the council are meeting the standards required by doctors, counsellors and health workers.
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