Man ‘Not Homeless Enough’ For Help

A man who presented as homeless was allegedly left to freeze in the streets of Glasgow for hours after council housing bosses refused to find him accommodation for just a few hours, reports the Daily Record.

Homeless Project Scotland (HPS), a charity that helps vulnerable people sleeping rough, says 41-year-old Mark Clacken was turned away by Glasgow City Council because he wasn’t “Homeless Enough” to meet their requirements for accommodation. Mark had presented to the charity on Sunday night after a break up saw him without anywhere to stay in 3C temperatures. He told them he needed somewhere to stay to shield from the near-freezing temperatures until he could board a train to London to stay with his parents, on a ticket paid for by his father.

However, council managers are alleged to have told him that he didn’t meet the criteria for an interview to assess his needs at the nearby Rodney Street assessment centre – because he would be on a train the next day.

Alan Hamilton, a voluntary caseworker with the charity, told the Record Mark presented to them with “his bike and his entire life in a holdall”. “He had a train ticket for 6am the next day and nowhere to go,” Alan said. “All of the money his father had been able to give him had gone on that. He wasn’t looking for much – just for somewhere he could be safe and warm for a few hours until he could board the train to London. You could actually see him physically shivering, and he was really upset at the whole situation. I’d almost say he was too proud to accept the help.”

Alan says he took charge of the situation, providing Mark with a foil blanket, a cup of tea and some food to keep him warm while he demanded an explanation from council bosses. Despite stating that Mark wasn’t considered homeless, housing chiefs refused to explain to Alan what it would take to get some help. The charity worker added: “I just wasn’t accepting this explanation, that Mark wasn’t homeless because he had a train ticket. The way he was, how upset he was, how cold he was, I tried to get through to the council but they weren’t interested one bit. They wouldn’t even tell me what their definition of homelessness was.”

It was only after hours of persistent phone calls that council bosses relented and at around 1am, more than two hours after leaving him out in the cold, Mark was finally offered accommodation. He is now understood to be safe and well with his parents in London.  However, Homeless Project Scotland says they are planning to escalate the matter as an official complaint with care watchdogs and the council itself. Alan said: “How they treated Mark is beyond a joke. I’ve had issues with the homeless services before but never had it this bad.”

He added: “He wasn’t asking for much – just somewhere to stay overnight – and they refused to even interview him, which at 2am, 3am when people are already extremely distressed is already a carry on. The feeling I get is that these people are happy to take a wage from the council but they’re not doing the job the taxpayer is paying them to do, which is to help people. It’s disgusting.”

Homeless Project Scotland shared Mark’s situation on their Twitter account, commenting: “Tonight was a busy night – we helped accommodate 3 people tonight. This man waited in the cold for over 2 hours with temperature 3C and [Glasgow City Council] refused to accommodate this man. Our volunteer caseworkers provided a foil blanket, food, hot drink while our dedicated volunteers helped him to exercise his rights to a safe warm place.”

“[Glasgow City Council] eventually agreed to interview him to see if they could assist him. We believe at Homeless Project Scotland no one should struggle and have to fight to get accommodation. This is life or death in low temperatures.”

Glasgow City Council has contested the claims made by Homeless Project Scotland, but confirmed Mark was given refuge. A spokesperson for the local authority said: “This man was not homeless.”