12 months since the Park Inn Tragedy in Glasgow, one in three hotel asylum seekers say their mental health has deteriorated

24 June 2021

A year after the Park Inn Tragedy, one in three asylum seekers accommodated for long periods in m hotels report that their mental health has deteriorated.

Positive Action in Housing carried out a survey of hotel asylum seekers in Glasgow. It analysed the responses of 230 asylum seekers living under the Home Office’s Mears accommodation contract in hotels between August 1st 2020 and June 2021.

The charity found that one in three asylum seekers (83) felt that their mental health has deteriorated as a result of long periods spent in hotels provided by Mears Housing Group. One in three said they were suffering depression or PTSD, taking medication for sleep or anxiety, or had suicidal thoughts.

Some of the findings are below:

Just over one in three (36%) people (83) said that their mental health had deteriorated since being placed in a hotel, with 14 people saying they suffer suicidal thoughts.

Amongst the reasons given were a sense of hopelessness, loss of control over their own lives, in ability to cook for themselves, fears for their families they had left behind who were living in extreme poverty or danger in their countries of origin while they waited for Home Office decisions on their cases.

A significant number of people stated that they had not seen a doctor, dentist or optician .

Several people referred to the hotels as “prisons”, that they could not get privacy, cook or clean, that there was restrictions on food or bottled water. Still other stated that they wanted to work but were forced to depend on the Home Office.

156 hotel asylum seekers (68%) reported that they do not receive any money at all for living expenses. Just over a quarter of people (62) said they had received their hotel subsistence payment of £8 a week.Those who eventually received it despite being entitled to it for months, were told by Migrant Help that the Home Office would not be paying the backdated payment and that this would be “assessed” once they were dispersed to accommodation. The only problem people, people are not being dispersed.

Robina Qureshi, Director, said:

“The situation is one of misery and desperation and those in authority appear to be taking no heed of their suffering. People want their Home Office cases settled so they can finally leave the oppressive contract system that governs their lives, seek work or study , contribute to society and stand on their own resources”.

The majority of hotel residents were from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen, countries face war or humanitarian crises. See country reports below:

  • Six years into an armed conflict that has killed over 18,400 civilians, Yemen remains the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst food security crisis with 20.1 million people—nearly two-thirds of the population—requiring food assistance at the beginning of 2020.
  • Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings of demonstrators by Iraqi security forces in late 2019 and into 2020 led to government resignations and the nomination of a new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, in May 2020. Despite an initial seeming willingness to address some of Iraq’s most serious human rights challenges, al-Kadhimi’s government failed to end abuses against protesters.
  • Iranian authorities continued to repress their own people. The country’s security and intelligence apparatus, in partnership with Iran’s judiciary, harshly cracked down on dissent, including through excessive and lethal force against protesters and reported abuse and torture in detention.
  • Parties to the armed conflict in Syria continued to commit with impunity serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, and gross human rights abuses. Government and allied forces carried out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects using aerial and artillery bombing, killing and injuring hundreds of people in Idlib and Hama in north-west Syria. Government forces continued restricting access to humanitarian and medical aid to civilians living in government-controlled areas.

We continue to call for a public inquiry into the deadly accommodation crisis.

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