A NEW alliance to tackle homelessness in Scotland’s biggest city has been predicted to become a blueprint for the UK.

It is claimed the new Glasgow Alliance to End Homelessness will be the first of its kind.

Partner agencies will join the local Health and Social Care Partnership (GCHSCP) to eliminate rough sleeping, prevent homelessness and help people into permanent accommodation.

People with personal experience of homelessness will be recruited to help shape its work.

Councillor Mhairi Hunter, chair of the GCHSCP integration joint board, told The National it is expected to attract attention from other local authorities, and could become a “framework” for anti-homelessness efforts across the UK.

Claiming that other authorities will be “looking at” the scheme, she went on: “This is a very innovative approach. It’s exciting.”

Expected to come into force in July, the Alliance will be responsible for purchased homelessness services, with providers expected to submit their bids at the end of the year.

By then the city’s Winter Night Shelter will be open to help rough sleepers escape the cold.

Run by Glasgow City Mission, it has aided 600 people over the past three years, also helping users into accommodation.

Despite the “chronic” problem with street homelessness, chief executive Grant Campbell says the Alliance must also focus on those sleeping on friends’ sofas and in other forms of temporary accommodation.

He said: “There are up to 30 people rough sleeping in Glasgow. That’s chronic.

“Other people are struggling, but they are rough sleeping and they are not seen. We have a duty to all these people.”

Earlier this year the Scottish Housing Regulator ruled Glasgow City Council was too slow in housing those without accommodation, with the average wait for a permanent address found to be 238 days.

In 2016-17 the council placed almost 2000 families in homes, but this was only around half of those it had a duty to house and the charity Shelter Scotland said its performance was “not acceptable”.

The specialist organisation declined to comment on the news about the Alliance, but Hunter says the local authority is seeking new answers to “complex” problems.

This also follows criticism from businesses about visible homelessness and begging.

Hunter said: “It’s a complex problem. Everybody who is on the street is not necessarily homeless.

“Those who are are often people with mental health problems and complex needs. They are more visible now than they were before, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

She added: “Before, a lot of people were stuck in being in and out of homeless hostels and hospital and prison. Clearly we need to take a different approach to support them.”

Ahead of winning the local elections to take charge of the local authority for the first time, Susan Aitken, who now leads the council, signalled her intention to deviate from the “paternalism” of local governance by allowing more partners to help deliver services.

Hunter says the Alliance is part of this approach, adding: “We are taking a leap into uncharted territory here.

“There is nothing of this type in the UK. Glasgow will be leading the way by formalising arrangements with partners to make best use of the resources available. It will be a genuine partnership and ground-breaking stuff. We look forward to working collaboratively with partners to develop this ambitious new venture.”

The body of 28-year-old Matthew Bloomer was found where he slept outside an Argyll Street shop amidst freezing temperatures in March last year, prompting public outcry.

On readiness for the coming winter period, Hunter said: “We have a very robust system of collaboration with the Simon Community street team and work by the City Mission. I am confident we don’t miss many people in really cold weather.”