Health chiefs in Scotland's biggest city have sent out an appeal to landlords for homes to rent for the homeless while acknowledging that there is a risk of a breach of its legal duties to provide emergency accommodation.

Housing campaigners fear there is a "meltdown" over the handling of homelessness in Glasgow as it emerged that according to a June analysis the Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) was 1600 lets short of the 4500 it needs annually.

It has emerged that HSCP officers have written to all registered social landlords (RSLs) requesting 60% of all social housing lets for the resettlement of homeless households.

They say that it reflects the need to "rapidly reduce" the reliance on temporary bed and breakfast accommodation to house the homeless.

The HSCP has admitted there is a risk of judicial sanctions over the handling of the city's homeless.

It comes as the HSCP - the amalgamation of Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde which delivers community health and social care services - seeks to cut back on its use of high cost hotel and bed and breakfast accommodation as it faces overspending its budget by £16.646m.

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Councils have a statutory obligation to offer temporary accommodation when they assess a person or household as unintentionally homeless. Most councils meet this obligation all of the time.

The housing regulator has warned of an "emerging risk of systematic failure" in local authority homelessness services as some councils are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the challenges of providing services for those who are homeless and meet their statutory duties.

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In an analysis seen as "very concerning" by campaigners, Pat Togher, assistant chief officer for public protection and complex needs said: "It remains apparent that RSLs are experiencing significant challenges which may prevent them securing the necessary quota, thus placing additional pressures on homelessness and projected longer periods of time spent within hotel and B&B accommodation."

Letters were sent to landlords after it emerged that while the local letting plan sought a requirement to secure 4500 lets for the homeless - but only 2900 were provided.

The Scottish Tenants Organisation (STO) feared a "meltdown" over how the homeless are accommodated in the city saying future prospects for those in need was "disastrous".

"There is a housing and homelessness catastrophe unfolding in Glasgow which will lead to a complete disaster for our most vulnerable citizens unless the Scottish Government intervene immediately to give Glasgow City Council substantial additional monies so that thousands more social rented homes can be built.

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"If the authorities do nothing then there will be a drift to social disaster which will reach a point of no return for the city of Glasgow. We need radical action and additional resources now to shift the dial away from impending disaster."

It comes as record numbers children are living in temporary accommodation for the homeless in Glasgow despite initiatives to provide settled housing.

HSCP figures reveals 2849 children were living in temporary accommodation for the homeless on May 1 - 141 more than in December and almost double the 1,365 of ten years ago.

The total number of homeless people living in temporary homeless accommodation has increased to 6832 - a rise of 367 over five months.

In 2020 the number was 5735 - an increase of 10% in under two years.

And of those some 806 were living in hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation - compared to the pre-Covid figures of around 240.

Records indicate that 42 people had been living in hotel or bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than a year between January 2020 and May, 2023. As of May, that number was six.

Ruth Gilbert, national campaigns chairman for tenants rights group Living Rent said: "The evidence could not be clearer. We need to build more social housing. For the HSCP to be short of the homes it needs to house some of society’s most vulnerable, shows this government’s repeated failure to take the housing crisis seriously. This government needs to prioritise greater investment and more support to help build more social housing.

"For the nearly 29,000 people who are homeless in Scotland today, temporary accommodation is too often an insecure and poor quality solution. For councils, temporary housing is more expensive and fails to tackle the ongoing problems. Yet, people in temporary accommodation are up 259% from last year. Local councils and the Scottish Government need to work together to find systemic solutions to rising homelessness: more social and council housing alongside greater protections against evictions.

"Our social housing stock is not enough to provide for the demand and rents in the private sector are just unaffordable for too many. With thousands in temporary accommodation joining the 243,000 already on housing waiting lists, the government needs to take immediate steps to alleviate the housing crisis, not cut the social housing budget by 16%.

"Housing should be a right not a luxury and the Scottish government has it within its powers to build more social homes and help end homelessness. But with cuts to social housing funding the government is turning the crisis into a disaster."

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It comes as uncertainty surrounds the future of a ground-breaking initiative to end homelessness and rough sleeping through the Rapid Rehousing Transition (RRTP) programme which is due to end in 2023/24.

An analysis on Monday revealed that the social housing in Scotland is facing "unsustainable pressures" amid a "critical lack of capacity".

Research by Solace, which represents council chief executives and senior managers, reveals that there are currently 243,603 people on the waiting list for social housing in Scotland but the number of annual allocations across the entire country is just 26,102.

Data from the quarterly statistics on housebuilding and affordable housing supply has revealed that the number of affordable houses starting construction in the 2022/2023 financial year had fallen to 6,987, down from 8,227 in 2021/2022 and 12,039 in 2019/2020.

The number of affordable housing approvals also fell starkly, from 12,880 in 2020 to 7,820 in 2022 and 6,396 last year, a 50% drop in three years. It is the lowest annual figure since 2015.

The budget crisis has come through Glasgow Homelessness Services’ financial challenges through the removal of Covid-19 support. Some £11.689m was claimed in the last financial year.

The key route to cut the temporary accommodation use is to increase the the speed it resettles homeless households through the city's social landlords.

During the first week in May, it is said that hotel and B&B numbers rose by 800 due to the decision of the Mears Group and the Home Office to accelerate the numbers of people being moved out of accommodation following successful asylum claims. It's thought that it has put a further 600 also required support.

The HSCP says the arrival of Ukrainian Displaced Persons (UDP) and their families impacted upon homelessness Covid recovery planning arrangements during 2022/23 with a requirement to "quickly re-prioritise resources".

Glasgow has welcomed over 2500 Ukrainians with a requirement to ensure an infrastructure of support is available to those who require it.

The HSCP has also secured resettlement accommodation for more than 1200 households accommodated on the MS Ambition ship which departed Glasgow at the end of March.

Some 350 UDP households remained in hotel accommodation commissioned by the Scottish Government while 600 were residing in temporary host family arrangements.

The HSCP says it "remains unclear" what impact this will have on homelessness servcies in the longer term, including availability of settled accommodation.

But there is an acknowledgment that UDPs may wish to settle in Glasgow following a period in emergency accommodation or residing with host families.

Accommodation for UDP households will be in addition to the current responsibilities in relation to homeless households which includes a population of almost 800 households living in B&B accommodation.

Cutting the use of high cost hotel accommodation and reducing the use of B&B was expected to save £3.6m over nine months.

But despite moves to cut costs, Mr Togher said there was "significant" risk to the HSCP in cutting the use of B&B places and that there could be an increased likelihood of "rough sleeping and hardship... reputational damage and potential judical sanctions and additonal costs".

It is hoped that the recovery plan will cut spending by £4.9m - but it would still mean an overspend forecast of £11.7m.

When lockdown began in March, 2020 hundreds of rough sleepers were brought in off the streets to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

With temporary accommodation full, many were placed in hotels. But campaigners raised concerns that that B&B's and hotels were not fit to deal with people in crisis and that consequently, homeless people were losing out on access to drug and alcohol addiction services and mental health care.

Some 2000 homeless people were housed in bed and breakfasts in Glasgow alone in the first nine months while new rules were delayed that were meant to ensure that they are only to be used in emergencies and for no more than seven days.

At its peak as many as 600 homeless people were in B&B and hotel accommodation in Glasgow.

As many as 160 homeless people have died while registered as living in almost 70 different temporary premises, including hostels, hotels, bedsits and private flats across Glasgow since 2017.

The worst year for deaths in interim accommodation came in 2021, with 38 dying in a year.

In February it emerged that as many as 36 homeless people died at six hotels in Glasgow which have been used to protect their wellbeing as the numbers in temporary accommodation across the nation have soared.

The death toll confirmed by Police Scotland shows that eight people died at St Enoch Hotel, with four at the Chez Nous Guest House and one at Hillhead Hotel.

Nine have died at the Alexander Thomson Hotel, with seven passing away at the city’s Queens Park Hotel while there another seven at the Rennie Mackintosh Station Hotel.

Those deaths have happened after March 2020, with most believed to be during the pandemic and related to drug overdoses.

Sean Clerkin, campaign co-ordinator of the STO said that empty properties should be compulsorily purchased and used to accommodate people.

"The fact they are writing is an act of desperation which unless there is additional money, won't be met.

"It is significant that they have been trying to pressurise landlords to increasing the lets they give to the homeless.

"It is clear there is a housing and homelessness emergency in Glasgow. The system is broken and urgent action is needed to resolve this."

A council spokesperson said: “The cumulative impact of the lack of housing supply, cost-of-living crisis, inflation, changes to the asylum system, and increased numbers of people coming to Glasgow in search of accommodation is creating unprecedented pressures on homelessness services. We remain in continual dialogue with all of our key partners including Registered Social Landlords, third sector, Home Office and Scottish Government about the impact of these pressures and will continue to seek solutions wherever possible.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “In 2023-24, Glasgow City Council is receiving more than £1.5 billion to fund local services, which equates to an extra £62.6 million to support vital day-to-day services compared to 2022-23.

“In addition to homelessness funding provided through the local government settlement, Glasgow City Council receives a share of the 30.5 million we provide to local authorities annually for their work to prevent homelessness.

"We also offer Glasgow an annual allocation from our £100 million multi-year Ending Homelessness Together fund to implement its rapid rehousing transition plan.

“Scotland has led the UK in providing affordable housing, having delivered 122,201 homes since 2007, and we remain committed to making available £3.5 billion for affordable housing over the current parliamentary session as part of our ambitious plans to deliver 110,000 affordable homes by 2032.”