THERE is a suitcase in the hallway and extra clothes have been packed in black bags. He’s got the keys for his new flat and he’s due to move out in just minutes now. But Owen Docherty, who’s been living at this Simon Community supported accommodation unit in Glasgow’s Tollcross for two years, doesn’t know quite what to think.

“You could hit me with a baseball bat and I wouldn’t feel it,” he says. “I’m just ...” and he does an impression of his head exploding with the mixture of hope, anxiety, excitement and trepidation he is feeling.

David Love who accepted an offer – made the day before – for a flat in Knightswood is moving out the following day.

He has added his new keys to his current ones on a lanyard round his neck, and he can’t stop himself from talking over Docherty.

Both are full of plans – the practicalities of decorating, where they’ll shop and visit family. Fear of the unknown casts a shadow but these new homes – both provided under the Housing First banner, with offers housing along with intensive support – offer a chance of a new start.

But James Forbes, who has a room just along the hall, is packing his bags without anywhere to go. The Sunday National understand that he is one of more than 15 people who are living in homeless services due to be decommissioned at the end of the week as part of cuts of £3.1 million to existing services who do not yet have an offer of alternative accommodation. They include three older men living in Purdon Street, run by Aspire, who – as reported by the Sunday National earlier this month – have lived there for 20 years. Last week Govan Law Centre lodged a petition through the courts and secured an undertaking from Glasgow City Council not to evict the men without alternatives being in place. They still do not feel listened to. One has been offered a housing association flat, but rejected it as unsuitable – he wants to stay with his friends in a nearby sheltered housing unit.

Six others at the unit have moved, or are due to but Aspire and the council are still working to find solutions for five others. Meanwhile, at the Talbot Association’s 17-bedded unit, some started to be accommodated last week, but others were still waiting. It’s a tense time for those caught up in the cuts. Forbes, who wants to stay in Tollcross, first went into care when he was nine and hasn’t had a home of his own since his relationship with his partner fell apart more than 20 years ago. Now 54, he is an alcoholic who has dramatically reduced his drinking since he moved into this unit, has stopped taking drugs and has made great strides towards putting in place boundaries in terms of allowing himself to be exploited.

PAST experiences include a decade on and off the streets and he’s been in and out of prison so many times on short sentences he thinks about a one-room flat as a Peter, slang for a cell. Before he came here he was run over and discharged back to the streets after an operation on his leg. The staples came out, he contracted an infection and collapsed. This time the hospital sent him to the Simon Community.

“It’s been a very stable period up here,” he says. “Staff here have really helped me. They are tremendous people. They are always there.”

They are on hand when he has one of his regular falls, to help him make his dinner and provide a sense of routine. When he heard the unit was closing he says he was “gutted”.

“It’s making me really anxious,” he says. “My health has taken a bit of a doing just now. The housing woman was out today about a studio flat so hopefully that will materialise. But I really want to stay in this area – I’ve got to know people here, in the shops and on the street and they’ll talk to me and I’ll talk to them. Now, I’ve got to start again, explain myself all over again, build up the trust.”

Even for Docherty and Love this has been a tough month. “When we found out [it was closing] we freaked,” says Docherty.

Both say they thought about taking their own lives in that period of uncertainty. “Because they come and tell you the place is shutting down and you’ll like that to yourself: ‘where are we going to be going?’” Docherty explains. “This one’s going there, that one’s going somewhere else and you’ll left wondering what’s happening to you?”

He’s worried about his mate Andy, who wants an alternative placement in supported accommodation but doesn’t yet have an offer. “He’s in a bad way,” says Docherty. Andy, who has poor health and suffers from regular seizures, admits he’s struggling. He’s taking street Valium: “Though I know it’s not really Valium and that really scares me’’. He’s watched friends overdose and die and he talks about not having long left even though he is just 45-years-old.

HE was sleeping at the Glasgow Winter Night Shelter before he got a room here, was on the streets before that. He’s pleased for his pal – is planning to visit regularly. But he’s worried about ended up in a temporary furnished flat and the ongoing uncertainty. “I’ve not been offered nothing so far,” he says.

Lorna Walker, principle solicitor at Govan Law Centre, which is representing some of those waiting for offers said: “It is hard to see how these cuts are a necessary part of the transformation of homeless services.

“We have seen the detrimental effects these cuts are having on people and I am particularly concerned about the many people who have not had the opportunity to take legal advice.

“Moving house is stressful at the best of times, never mind taking away someone’s home without the person knowing where they are going.

“Most of these people have lived the most brutal reality of being homeless and now to take away a secure environment from a vulnerable person and not effectively planning where they are moving too is scary and disempowering.

“I feel there has been a huge failure by Glasgow City Council to plan for this transitional period.”

But a spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council insists it is committed to finding solutions for everyone, including Housing First, to prevent people with complex needs spending time in temporary accommodation. “The needs of each and every individual service user have been at the heart of this process and it is testament to the hard work of the staff and everyone involved in making sure service users are able to move on to safe and secure tenancies or other supported accommodation options.”