Hundreds of vulnerable asylum seekers remain in an ‘untenable’ hotel in Glasgow a month after a man stabbed six people, including a policeman in a city center hotel, before being shot dead by police.
While activists welcomed the fact that former residents of the Park Inn, where Badreddin Abadlla Adam’s stabbing took place, had been returned to long-term accommodation, they said those who were still staying with private housing provider Mears in hotels around Glasgow were giving up hope.
Residents at the hotel told the Guardian conditions remain stressful and isolating, with poor quality food a persistent problem and no concrete information on when they will be relocated to long-term accommodation in the community, despite the commitments from Mears and the Home Office to relocate. quick.
Scottish Police have confirmed an incident in which officers were called by suspicious hotel staff of a resident who entered his room with a bag, which was found to contain donated clothing.
Mears confirmed that all of the former Park Inn residents, many of whom were deeply upset by the stabbing and its aftermath, have moved into appropriate scattered accommodation. But he was not able to give a timeline for the move of other hotel residents to apartments, saying: “We are making other moves and are doing it on a planned basis when a suitable property is available. available. This can only be done when the local authority is happy that we are getting accommodation. “
Graham O’Neill, Scottish Refugee Council Policy Officer, said: “Around 300 vulnerable asylum seekers in Glasgow have now been stranded in hotel rooms for four months. Another 4,500 are in the same situation across the UK, in 53 hotels. “
Those who were moved by Mears from long-term accommodation to six hotels in Glasgow city center at the start of the lockdown saw all financial support withdrawn, leaving them unable to supplement their meals with bottled water or fresh fruit or top up phones for vital communication with family and lawyers. Despite Immigration Minister Chris Philp’s pledge immediately after the stabbing to consider providing small cash payments, there has been no progress on this.
“As a result, people have no real control over their lives, they suffer and lose hope,” O’Neill said. “Hotels are not houses. People are held in institutional housing, outright.
“We are glad that everyone who was at Park Inn has now left the hotels for suitable long-term accommodation. However, it is appalling and should be untenable that a month after the Park Inn tragedy, around 300 vulnerable men and women remain in hotel rooms in Glasgow.
Chris Stephens, SNP MP for Glasgow South West, who has always raised concerns about the living conditions and mental health of asylum seekers in hotels, said that their staying in accommodation unsuitable a month later was “a scandal”.
Stephens again called on the Home Office to conduct an urgent investigation into the “clear institutional failures” that occurred during the pandemic, a demand Philp had previously refused to commit to.
Robina Qureshi of the Refugee Homeless Charity Positive action in housing, said there was “an ongoing humanitarian crisis in this city as a result of these hotel moves,” adding that many who moved to apartments said they were dirty and had appliances defective. “Almost all of the displaced people have little or no access to money, food or wifi. “
A spokesperson for the Interior Ministry said: “During the pandemic, destitute asylum seekers are provided with free and furnished accommodation, paid utility fees and financial allowances. Free health care and education for children is also provided.
“All asylum seekers affected by the Park Inn incident in Glasgow received a one-time payment to help them while their property was inaccessible.”