Refugee charities slam hotel policy for asylum seekers

Park inn

Charities previously warned about moving vulnerable asylum seekers

29th June 2020 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Refugee charities have hit out at the lack of proper procedures when moving asylum seekers into temporary accommodation.

It comes after a Sudanese man attacked a number of people with a knife at a hotel in Glasgow on Friday injusring six before he was shot dead by police marksmen.

Organisations had been warning about the situation concerning temporary accommodation up to the day before the attack, it has been revealed.

Since lockdown was imposed many, who formerly lived in flats in the city, were moved into hotels closed because of the covid-19 restrictions.

One was the Park Inn Hotel in West George Street where the stabbings took place on Friday. Its 91 rooms held 100 asylum seekers.

The Scottish Refugee Council (SRC) had expressed repeated concern about the use of hotel accommodation for people in the asylum system.

Mears took over the contract to house asylum seekers from Serco earlier this year.

Following a briefing from Mears on Thursday, the day before the stabbings, the chief executive of thr Scottish Refugee Council, Sabir Zazai said: "People were moved into hotels without formally assessing people's individual needs and vulnerabilities.

"It is unacceptable and almost certainly a breach of the asylum accommodation contract that these assessments were not conducted.

"This caused pregnant women, children, trafficking survivors and people with mental health problems to be moved to the hotels.

"Vulnerability assessments, even during a public health crisis, cannot be skipped."

The SRC released a statement following ther incident saying it had expressed repeated concern over the last three months about the use of hotel accommodation for people in the asylum system.

“These are people who have lost their homes and livelihoods and are desperate for a new start, but who otherwise are no different from the rest of us in Glasgow,” a spokesperson said.

“It has always been our belief that people who are in Scotland seeking refugee protection require and deserve safe, secure accommodation – a home – from which to rebuild their lives. Temporary accommodation can never fulfil this.”

Six people, including a police officer named as Constable David Whyte, were injured during the incident.

Three of the people who were injured were asylum seekers, Police Scotland said, while two were members of staff.

No Evictions Network (NEN) - including many residents inside the hotels themselves, some of whom witnessed the horrific scenes on Friday – said it was deeply concerned about the well-being and standard of support services being provided to those who were present, and the ongoing issues facing residents across the hotel accommodation.

“We await a full investigation into the background and culmination of Friday’s attack, and condemn attempts to use this incident to further incite racism and fear,” a statement said.

“NEN is, along with other organisations in the city, expanding our practical support efforts and signposting people to support and mental health services. We will continue to campaign on the key issues facing people in this accommodation.

“The demands of those in the hotels remain the same - an improvement to the living conditions, reinstatement of financial support, and an immediate return to safe, own-door housing.

“We urge people in Glasgow and further afield to unite in showing support and solidarity with all those recovering from this awful episode, and organise against the UK government’s policies that have created these circumstances.”

 Positive Action in Housing (PAiH) said those residing in the hotel had been asked to sign new leases, without the aid of an interpreter.

In a tweet the charity said: "New leases given to asylum seekers from the #ParkInnHotel #Glasgow #GlasgowStabbing last night after being moved to different hotels in #Glasgow.

"Frightened ppl, many who don't speak English were told to sign lease terms and conditions without interpreters present."