ASYLUM seekers are being left without essentials such as heating, hot water and flushing toilets due to the dysfunction of a new Home Office system, which it was claimed would help them report housing repairs, according to a charity.

The Asylum Seeker Housing (ASH) Project, claims that since September 16 – when a centralised UK-wide housing repairs line was established – those they have been supporting have found it impossible to get repairs done in their Home Office provided accommodation.

The charity’s caseload this week includes two families left without hot water in their homes, including a woman with a young baby, and a family with four children – including one who is disabled. One person the charity has been supporting has had no hot water for almost three weeks.

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Another man has been left without a flushing toilet for 11 days, while another has a faulty kitchen tap which continually pours water. All have tried unsuccessfully to report the problems to the new helpline.

Sheila Arthur, who manages ASH, has now written to the Home Office to raise concerns that “there is still seems to be no functioning way that the new accommodation provider can be reached to provide housing repairs”. After complaining earlier last month she was told she could use a web chat facility, which didn’t work and instead is escalating cases directly to the Home Office.

The new system for reporting accommodation repairs was put in place when the contract for asylum seeker accommodation in Glasgow was passed from Serco to Mears Group, but the phone number given is rarely answered, according to Arthur. She managed to get through once after an hour but was not allowed to report problems on behalf of those she is supporting.

She has been told that this is due to a delays in the approval of counter terrorism checks for Migrant Help advisors, who will staff the phone line.

Arthur added: “We’re at the end of the third week where we have families without heating and hot water. No-one has been able to report housing repairs the only way they know officially, through the one phone number for the whole of UK .

“The system is actually worse than it was, though this was meant to improve things. The Home Office really must address this.”

A Home Office spokesman said the recent “transition” of asylum support contracts was still “embedding”. He added: “Migrant Help is contracted by the Home Office as the primary route to help asylum seekers report a range of issues – including the maintenance of their accommodation.

“Those needing support can also use their free Helpline or online chat service. We are working closely with Migrant Help to ensure these systems are running as they should be.

“The Home Office takes the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously and there is a robust process for dealing with any complaints reported to Migrant Help.”

Meanwhile, last Thursday it emerged that Serco had been granted court eviction orders, allowing them to legally evict refused asylum seekers who remain in their properties. It is expected that more will be granted next week.

Though they will have a right of appeal, if court orders are enforced, charities have warned people have nowhere to go. Graham O’Neill, policy manager of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “Nothing is in place in Glasgow for people who face eviction. Winter is coming fast and we are now facing a genuine humanitarian crisis.”