Homelessness services are the responsibility of local authorities, and addressing the needs of the residents of the Bellgrove hotel is a matter for Glasgow City Council.
The Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Justice and Pensioners’ Rights and I have both met the leadership of Glasgow City Council to discuss the issue of the Bellgrove hotel, and we have also corresponded with them on it. The cabinet secretary last met the then leader, Councillor Matheson, to discuss the issue in the summer.
Officials have continued to engage with the council on the Scottish Government’s behalf and discussions have focused particularly on strategically reviewing Glasgow’s homelessness services. The best interests of the Bellgrove’s residents can be met only through a wider approach to address issues such as rough sleeping and the provision of homelessness services for those with more complex needs in Glasgow.
I welcome any increased provision for homeless people. Does the minister not consider that we need more regulation in this area? After all, housing associations are regulated and care homes are regulated, but the Bellgrove hotel, whose residents need both housing and care, is not regulated.
I appreciate that John Mason has raised this issue in the chamber on more than one occasion. In the past we looked at whether the Bellgrove hotel should come under the Care Inspectorate’s remit, but the Care Inspectorate took the clear position that it should not.
The Bellgrove hotel is not typical homelessness accommodation. It is the only accommodation of its kind and it involves complex issues that cannot be solved by more regulation. It is licensed as a house in multiple occupation and Glasgow City Council has used the HMO licensing framework to require improvements to the hotel’s condition.
I know that John Mason’s concern is about the wellbeing of the hotel’s residents, and their needs and wishes. Their needs require a focus on prevention and the provision of appropriate services for them. We will continue to work with Glasgow City Council on its review of homelessness services, to improve options and outcomes for those who are using the Bellgrove hotel.