‘WE don’t feel alright, we don’t feel safe. We want to be safe.”

These are the words of one asylum seeker who ran from persecution to Scotland for safety.

We’re not naming him or his friends, because all are scared of what that might do for their asylum claims and treatment within the system.

But they’re now speaking out about what it’s like living in the Glasgow hotels used by Home Office contractor Mears during the pandemic. The company says it had to move around 400 people from the flats they were living in to the hotels for fear of the impact of the virus.

But there are no private cooking facilities and provided meals mean the £35-per-week support has been removed from each individual, something many say has affected their sense of liberty.

Earlier this week, John Taylor of Mears said that the move had been successful as no cases of coronavirus had been detected in the population, adding: “We made the decision for the best of reasons. I would still make that decision again.”

But he admitted that “anyone living in a hotel for three months is going to find that challenging” and said it had provided leaflets to residents about mental health support.

Yesterday one man, who is living in the McLays Hotel, said anxieties had been heightened by Friday’s attack, saying: “We are talking about safe housing for these kinds of reasons. We are vulnerable people escaping from danger.”

Mears has said all hotels are in good condition, but one resident of the same hotel passed us images of rainwater running through light fittings, from switches and through a crack in the ceiling during yesterday’s downpours.

And another said: “The housekeeping girls say they aren’t feeling safe walking room to room every morning because ‘boys’ look depressed, frustrated, and aggressive, meaning some of the men here. People are stressed and agitated. There’s a boy here who is all by himself and has lost 15 kilos in 30 days. He said, ‘if you don’t move me to better housing where I can feel more home, I will commit suicide’. They say ‘are you certain you’re going to do it? If you are certain we’ll call an ambulance, if you are not we’ll call you tomorrow’. It’s shocking.

“I’m always trying to keep an eye on the poor boy. I don’t know him, I’m not from the same country, I don’t speak the same language but I want to know if he’s still alive.”

Another told our sister paper The National: “It’s like a mental hospital in here, when you take all these people and put them together like this, with all their trauma and flashbacks.

“This is a catastrophe. It’s going to be a catastrophe for all asylum seekers in Glasgow. No-one knows who did it, but it’s connected to all of us. If one asylum seeker attacks anyone, it’s also all of our problem, with Mears and the Home Office, the way we’re treated.”

Mears says all residents are fully supported.

A local authority source commented: “I can’t imagine how they are feeling, I can’t imagine how scared the asylum seekers are.

“There is going to have to be an investigation and inquiry into what happened.

“We need this system to be devolved or at least let local authorities run it. Mears are a contractor, the Home Office need to be answering questions here. The political leadership at the Home Office is non-existent.”