A group of charities providing homelessness services in Glasgow insist there’s still an urgent need for accommodation in the city, as over 250 people used an emergency shelter during the coldest time of the year.  Despite experiencing a milder winter than the weeks of snow that Scotland experienced in the last two years, organisers of Glasgow Winter Initiative are reporting increased numbers of people seeking refuge at night time.

The emergency night shelter, in McAlpine Street in the city centre, closed on Sunday 26th February after offering people a roof over their head and somewhere to bed down for the night for 12 weeks since early December.

Glasgow Winter Initiative was run by Glasgow City Mission, and supported by Glasgow Homelessness Network, Glasgow Housing Association, Turning Point Scotland, the Marie Trust, Blue Triangle Housing Association, Shelter, Gowrie Care, The Lodging House Mission and Impact Arts.

Glasgow Winter Initiative was aimed at people over the age of 18 who needed to get off the streets and out of the cold weather for the night.

On average, around 19 individuals used the vital refuge each night, which provided hot drinks, snacks, respite from the cold, and basic sleeping arrangements for some of the most vulnerable people within the community.

According to figures from Glasgow Homelessness Network, the level of need for the shelter increased compared to last year. This year, the shelter was accessed over 1500 times by over 250 people, with over 85% of people using the shelter between one and three times.

Andrew Low, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Mission said:

“For the second year running a number of organisations in Glasgow came together to provide the Glasgow Winter Initiative,  offering overnight accommodation for individuals that might otherwise find themselves sleeping rough in extreme winter conditions.

I’d like to thank all our staff who worked extremely hard, often in challenging circumstances, to give people a roof over their heads for the night and a brief respite from the winter cold. In particular, around 140 volunteers spent a night away from their loved ones in the run up to and through the holiday period to assist our staff to provide this vital service.

The figures show we have had the same urgent need for emergency shelter through the winter as last year. Although we had a milder festive and new year period, in terms of a lack of snow compared to last year, this didn’t make life any easier for the numbers of rough sleepers who needed to get into the warmth for the night. The fact we saw similar numbers in terms of those staying overnight as last year shows that milder weather is no barometer for how many rough sleepers require emergency shelter at night.

As organisations we exist to provide support to some of the most vulnerable individuals in the community and we would urge local and national governments to continue to address homelessness as an urgent priority in these tough economic times.”



Notes for Editors:


Glasgow Homelessness Network also reports that

  • the Winter Initiative was accessed by males in 72% of instances, and females in 27%
  • the age of people accessing the shelter ranged from 18 to 83, with an average in the early thirties
  • the maximum number of people accessing the Winter Initiative on a single night was 33
  • in over 75% of instances, the shelter was used by aUKcitizen, with over two-thirds describing themselves as ‘white Scottish’
  • in over 50% of instances, the shelter was accessed by someone who was not experiencing homelessness for the first time
  • in over two-thirds of instances, the person accessing the shelter had not approached Glasgow City Council for assistance on that day
  • in over 70% of instances, people using the shelter stated that they would be sleeping rough on the streets if the Winter Initiative did not exist


Media wishing to attend can interview Andrew Low, CEO Glasgow City Mission by contacting:

Iain McPhie

Marketing and Fundraising Manager

GlasgowCityMission|20 Crimea Street|Glasgow| G2 8PW

T 0141 221 2630    M 07766 311193

E iainm@glasgowcitymission.com