THE Glasgow Times is launching a campaign to End the Homeless Hotel Shame in Glasgow.

Homelessness in Glasgow is at a crisis level.

The city council has declared a housing emergency, people are regularly being turned away for emergency accommodation and rough sleeping has increased to worrying levels again.

Meanwhile, those who are given emergency accommodation are too often being put into squalid conditions with draconian rules.

Officially, it is described as hotel accommodation but it is hard to reconcile the experience people have in some of these establishments with what we would recognise as a hotel.

People who have lived in the hotels tell of infestations, bed bugs, filthy rooms, reported drug taking and dealing, violence and attacks, while the owners are paid handsomely from the public purse.

The overall money paid out for hotel accommodation in Glasgow was more than £20m in the last year.

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The council has for a number of years had a policy which aims to end the use of B&B and hotel accommodation.

The scale of the homeless problem in the city, however, means the number of men and women put into the hotels has increased.

Official figures, reported by the Glasgow Times earlier this year, show on April 1 the overall number of people in hotels and B&Bs was 1590, an increase from 1390 in January.

There were 52 families living in homeless B&B hotels, twice as many than on January 1, when it was 26.

Women living in the hotels have also increased from 180 to 242 in April.

The data showed there were 4201 breaches of the unsuitable accommodation order between January 1, 2023 and April 1, 2024.

All of the breaches were in hotel/bed and breakfast accommodation.

The council has highlighted that if they didn’t use hotel and B&B accommodation then rough sleeping would be far higher.

It also relies on social landlords for temporary accommodation as the council has no housing of its own.

And recent UK Government policy on fast-tracking asylum claims has led to an increase in homelessness among asylum seekers and refugees,

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Today, in partnership with Govan Law Centre, the Glasgow Times is launching a campaign to highlight the unacceptable conditions people are being subject to when they have nowhere else to turn.

We are calling on the hotel owners to be forced to improve the conditions of their properties and for the council to ensure a rigorous inspection regime is in place to give people a decent basic standard of accommodation at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

In a nutshell, we are asking for action to end the homeless hotel shame.

The reasons and actions lie at different levels of government and all can and must help.

The hotel owners can use the cash they are paid to ensure all rooms and facilities are up to a basic standard that people should be able to expect.

The city council can do more to ensure the hotels are fit for habitation and for people to spend no more than seven days

The Scottish Government can provide more cash to Glasgow to ensure there is enough housing available to allow the council to deal with rising homelessness.

And the UK Government can compensate the city properly for the high number of asylum seekers the city is home to, as many of them end up homeless.

We will highlight the conditions people are living in and explore the reasons why Glasgow is experiencing a rising tide of homelessness.

We have spoken with people who have lived in a number of the hotels across the city who tell of unimaginable conditions.

Mike Dailly, Principal Solicitor and Solicitor Advocate at Govan Law Centre said: “Govan Law Centre is proud to join with the Glasgow Times and campaign to End the Homeless Hotel Shame.

“The Glasgow Times has a first-class track record on social justice campaigns in Greater Glasgow and the Clyde valley over many decades. 

“We’ve worked with the Glasgow Times over the years on big issues such as unfair bank charges, warrant sales, free school meals, payday loans, the bedroom tax and the campaign to regulate property factors in Scotland

“In 2024, we believe that one of the most alarming and concerning problems in our city is the squalid state of too many of our homeless hotels and systemic problems with our homelessness system. It’s time to End the Homeless Hotel Shame in Glasgow”. 

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council  said: “The council is duty bound to find and provide emergency accommodation to those who present as homeless.

"To do this means using a range of establishments in the city.  All homeless people placed in either hotel or B&B establishments receive support from caseworkers and our homelessness team liaise directly with accommodation operators on a routine basis.

“If we receive complaints from service users about the accommodation, we will take these up with the operators of those premises.

“We are currently working with a range of partners to reduce our reliance on bed and breakfast type accommodation, however, the rapid expansion of bed and breakfast has supported our efforts to provide access to emergency accommodation for homeless households.”