When Jonathan Ward hit a difficult time in life, he expected society’s safety net would be there to catch him.

Instead, he found himself living in “horrendous” conditions.

Jonathan, trying to address serious personal issues found himself with nowhere to stay and at the mercy of Glasgow’s homeless system.

The Glasgow Times with Govan Law Centre has launched the End the Homeless Hotel Shame campaign.

(Image: newsquest)

We are calling for a rigorous inspection regime to force owners to improve conditions. For the Scottish Government to provide funding to ensure there is enough social housing and the UK Government to compensate Glasgow for the high number of asylum seekers and refugees who end up homeless.

READ NEXT:Glasgow Times new campaign: End the Homeless Hotel Shame

Before we tell his story, Jonathan, said: “This isn’t a traditional riches-to-rags story. As an artist I’ve oscillated between both worlds for a long time.

"I took a year out of the rat race to work on sobriety and this is what happened”.

Jonathan had gone from a job that involved travelling the world and working with rich and famous clients, first-class flights and seven-star accommodation to one of the city’s notorious homeless hotels.

The artist and designer has worked for some of the world's leading fashion brands.

(Image: Gordon Terris)

He was artistic director for the Style Council in New York and counts some of the most recognisable names in the industry as his contacts having had DKNY, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger as clients.

A relationship breakdown and a struggle with alcohol, however, left him homeless.

In some ways he could be considered ‘lucky’ as he only spent six nights in the hotel and is now in his own words “grateful” for the temporary furnished flat where he is taking the next steps in rebuilding his life.

The experience, however, has left him questioning the immediate support available to people when they look for help.

He said he “naively” thought there would be help.

He said: “I had this naïve notion that while I focus on getting well the system would be there for me. It wasn’t. Far from it.”

He was put in the Rennie Mackintosh Hotel in Union Street, which he thought, as an artist, could even have been chosen for him.

(Image: newsquest)

Jonathan said: “When I got to the actual address, I had never seen anything like it.”

He said after buzzing to get in as the door was locked he was taken upstairs to the “reception”.

The scene, he recalled, reminded him of a “cash check-in facility in New York with bulletproof glass and security guards.

In the room, it was so bad he spent the night in the bathroom because it was relatively new.

He said: “The stench was horrific, there was no air.

“Around the small single bed, there was soft furnishing which was stained with I don’t know what.

"I spent the night in the bathroom wrapped in a blanket I had brought myself with my headphones to block out the noise.”

(Image: Gordon Terris)

In the morning, he went outside and there were police in attendance and he said he is certain he witnessed a drug deal taking place.

The thought of returning for a second night he said was “horrendous”.

He said at 10.50pm just before the curfew he “ran up the stairs to the fourth-floor room and locked the door, wrapped myself in my blanket and waited for 6am”.

He added: "The stench in the hallway was of rancid sweat hanging profusely in the air.”

Jonathan said he could not spend any longer in the place than he had to.

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In a bizarre juxtaposition, while still trying to maintain his career and work on projects he was dealing with correspondence on his phone.

Jonathan said: “After dealing with check-in paperwork for the Rennie Mackintosh Hotel, I was in an exchange of messages with Kathy Hilton in New York.”

He was also, while in the room corresponding with fashion designer and entrepreneur, Karen Millen.

After six nights of enduring the stench, noise and filth, Jonathan said when he got the phone call from the council offering him a temporary furnished flat, he said: “I don’t think I have ever felt relief like that.”

“I was immensely grateful to be on the other side of this experience.

“I really do not want a young mum to be put through what I had to as it could make life even worse.”

He said he wants to challenge the “perception of homelessness” as “bottom-of-the-barrel vagabonds who need help”.

Jonathan said he got the impression that when they were confronted with an “artistic, clean, well-dressed person they were puzzled”.

He explained: “All I did to end up in this situation was to start looking at the cause of my problems, to really start to care about myself.”

Jonathan worked in fashion for 10 years and is now involved in fragrance.

It was through this that he managed to get the help he needed.

While homeless and sleeping at the flat of a friend, who volunteered at Homeless Project Scotland, Jonathan was introduced to the charity’s founder, Colin McInnes.

They started working on an idea that Jonathan would create a product to give out to people, the ‘gift of clean’.

Jonathan said when he later found himself with nowhere to stay he turned to Colin for help.

He said while he is now “grateful” for the temporary furnished flat he does not think it would have been possible without the help and support from Mr McInnes and Homeless Project Scotland.

Mr McInnes said: “Where Jonathan came from to being homeless shows anyone can become homeless.

“I’m glad he’s is going through the process quickly and is in accommodation.”

The Glasgow Times attempted to contact the Rennie Mackintosh Hotel for comment.