Park Inn Tragedy
27 June 2020
Yesterday’s tragic incident in Glasgow – where one man was killed and six people including a police officer were injured -made headlines news around the world. It happened just yards away, on the very street where our office is based. The Park Inn tragedy underlines our concerns about the conditions in which asylum seekers left vulnerable by the Home Office after experiencing the stress and trauma of their refugee journeys are forced to live.
The Park Inn Hotel is one of several in Glasgow used by the Mears Group – a Home Office sub contracted asylum landlord with a multimillion pound contract to accommodate asylum seekers in Scotland and elsewhere across the U.K.
In April, 370 asylum seekers in Glasgow were forcibly moved by Mears, with only an hour or so’s notice, four or five to a van, into cheap hotels where social distancing is impossible and also had their meagre allowance of £5.39 a day stopped.
The asylum seekers have lived like this for over three months now, unable to socially distance, buy crucial mobile phone top ups, to keep in touch with lawyers and family back home etc.
Concerns have been raised over people’s mental health. In May there were calls for an inquiry, after a suicidal Syrian Refugee Adnan Elbi was found dead in a guest house that Mears moved asylum seekers into with no social distancing and no money.
On Wednesday 24 June, Mears Group were forced to admit they failed to carry out vulnerability assessments of asylum seekers before moving them during the Lockdown.
Many asylum seekers complained of “hotel detention”, of being denied urgent medical attention, of being told to stay in their rooms, of insanitary conditions and deteriorating mental health.
Since the pandemic the numbers of people reporting to our charity about depression, suicidal thoughts and worries about money and complete isolation has rocketed. People are unable to socially distance and live in fear.
The Home Office removed their meagre £5.39 a day when people were moved within hours to these hotels, and even worse this is still the case today.
We are now aware of letters being sent to asylum seekers in hotels asking them why they should not be told to leave (and face destitution) by the end of this month. This amounts to undue mental stress and pressure being place on people who may be suffering trauma, reliving past torture or suicidal thoughts or depression, as well as enduring months or years of waiting for their asylum papers so they can get work and start their lives, and fulfil responsibilities to family back home.
Since Lockdown, we have distributed over £10,000 in crisis grants for mobile phone top ups, food, heating and rent arrears. We have distributed countless technology.
Below are some of the ways you can help.
Do you have a spare laptop or mobile phones? Please erase the contents and reset your devices, sanitise it, then pop it in a Jiffy bag and donate to us so we can pass it onto people desperately in need. Donate by posting to: Positive Action in Housing, 98 West George Street Glasgow G2 1PJ
Now more than ever we need your support so we can pass it on to those in greatest need.
Anyone wishing to donate to our Emergency Relief Fund – grants are assessed continuously and go straight to asylum seekers who are in need – can do so at this secure link:
For other ways to give, go to our website: https://www.positiveactionh.org/donate
See also our twitter, Facebook and website about our concerns about the hotel detention of asylum seekers.