YOU can hear the clock on the wall ticking as he processes the news that the legal challenge – brought forward by Govan Law Centre and aiming to halt Serco’s plans to evict hundreds of refused asylum seekers by changing their locks – was not successful.

“The judge doesn’t see what is happening to the people?” asks this 26-year-old Kurdish Iranian man, who the Sunday National has agreed to call by the nickname, Kwexa. “He doesn’t listen to what they are going through?”

READ MORE: Asylum seeker eviction case against Serco dismissed

Sitting opposite him is Asylum Seeking Housing (ASH) project worker Anna Pearce. It’s Friday and since the judgement came through at noon she has been working through a list of 61 refused asylum seekers now facing even greater threat of eviction, contacting each one so they hear the news firsthand.

She is able to tell Kwexa and others that Serco – providing asylum accommodation on behalf of the Home Office – has confirmed it will not act immediately, Govan Law team may appeal, and other legal challenges now waiting in the wings. But she is visibly shaken by a sense of powerlessness this brings. “People are shocked,” she says. “If they are evicted there is nowhere for people to go.”

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Kwexa, who has already spent five long hours waiting for help from Citizen’s Advice, listens as she lists reassurances – he tries to be upbeat. But he is exhausted.

He came to the UK from Iran in 2015 fleeing political persecution, spent 13 days in detention and was sent to Glasgow by the Home Office. He was terrified and traumatised, amazed to have survived, but unable to trust anyone. When his case was refused in 2017 he appealed repeatedly and is now aiming to put in a fresh claim. But working on gathering evidence far from authorities from whom he is in hiding, and with money, is an overwhelming task.

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“Since my support stopped, I often don’t have enough to eat, everything is from a can from the foodbank,” he trails off and the clock ticks while he fights with emotion. “There are so many things in my heart,” he says at last. “I would never have been in this situation in my country. I never thought this could happen to me.”

So, though he is not usually someone to fight, he claims, he has stayed in his Serco accommodation despite the continuing letters from both the Home Office and its housing contractor telling him to leave. “Where else would I go?” he asks. “If they kick me out… it would be like dying every day.” He looks at his hands. “I am so tired of all of this.”

Another man supported by ASH tells me he is so unwell he’s been admitted to hospital for blood tests but they didn’t find anything. “They say it is stress,” he says. “I am not sleeping. I just don’t know what to do. Sometimes I wonder if I should just go back – so what if I am killed?”

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According to Esther Muchena, services manager of Scottish Refugee Council, these men are amongst about 280 people now facing eviction in the city. Legal surgeries hosted by the charity have seen about 40 people granted support and the threat of eviction removed as a result. But it has little effect on the numbers. “We can get some people out of the situation but new people are being added almost every day,” she explains. “The human impact of this is huge. People are living in fear.” Those who become destitute, she explains, say they feel hopeless and even suicidal. “Now I think there will panic.” She worries that people may simply go underground and disappear as a result, putting themselves at real risk of exploitation and physical and sexual abuse, removing them for any potential support or hope of getting their cases resolved. “People are already struggling. This feels like the final straw.”

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The charity’s advice is for people to stay put. But it is aware it is just a temporary measure. For Muchena, putting in place emergency accommodation is utterly essential, giving people the time and space to process their situation and come to terms with their next steps. “It’s very worrying,” she adds. “There are human beings in Glasgow. It really is a crisis.”

Across the city Yvonne, who came to Glasgow to seek asylum and now has leave to remain is determined to help people fight back. One of the founder members of voluntary grass roots group Migrants Organisation for Rights and Empowerment (MORE) her phone pings regularly with queries about meetings and campaigns as we talk.

READ MORE: Read in full the letter Serco sent about its eviction plans

On our behalf she ask members what it feels like to be living with the threat of eviction. “Vulnerable and saddened to the deepest degree you could imagine,” says one. “I feel life isn’t worth living due to the astronomical amount of stress in my life.” Another says: “Living with the threat of eviction makes you feel so anxious...physically, emotionally and mentally unwell.”

She knows how they feel, remembering the insecurity she faced living in a situation where she was threatened with having locks changed and lived with constant insecurity made her feel “less human”.

“When something starts stripping away all the parts of your identity,” she added, “it’s like you don’t know why you are, where you are. It’s like you are not living, you are existing. It sounds like a cliché but it’s not.”

The realities of eviction are horrendously stark, she says, especially for women who cannot access the city’s only night shelter for destitute asylum seekers. “There are people who come to us and tell us only way for them to have a roof over their head is to engage in transaction sex. They are being forced to decide, well do I agree to sleep with this person, or do I sleep in the park and risk being raped by three people? This is what the threat of eviction is. You are also thinking, will the Home Office come and deport me? Sometimes the Home Office might detain you.

“Merely the threat of eviction is so great that some people will just leave the house. The threat can be worse than the act – you are constantly on that edge. The threats are not just about removing you, it’s about demoralising you, it’s about dehumanising you. For me that is the hostile environment at work.”

While there are people across Glasgow fighting it, with this legal challenge no longer standing, the clock just keeps ticking again for those facing eviction.