NEW research one year after the horror of the Park Inn attack has revealed the mental health toll of hotel stays on asylum seekers.

More than 600 people were moved from Glasgow flats to shared accommodation by Home Office contractor Mears in 2020 as lockdown began. As many as 170 remain in hotels.

On June 26 last year, 28-year-old Sudanese asylum seeker Badreddin Abadlla Adam, was shot dead by police after a knife attack at the Park Inn which injured six people including 42-year-old PC David Whyte.

The Refugees For Justice group held a vigil in the city’s George Square yesterday to “remember our friends and what happened to all of us last year”. One of those injured, 21-year-old Max Aubin from Cote d’Ivoire, says he suffers flashbacks. Meanwhile, the charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) has issued new research which shows one in three asylum seekers accommodated for long periods in hotels say it harmed their mental health. This includes experiences of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the use of medication for sleep or anxiety problems. Fourteen people said they had suicidal thoughts.

The results are based on information from 230 people living in hotels between August 2020 and June 2021. Most were from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and cited a sense of hopelessness and loss of control over their own lives as factors, along with the inability to cook for themselves and fears for families left behind.

PAIH director Robina Qureshi said: “The situation is one of misery and desperation and those in authority appear to be taking no heed of their suffering. People want their Home Office cases settled so they can finally leave the oppressive contract system that governs their lives, seek work or study, contribute to society and stand on their own resources.”

The Home Office said: “We take the welfare of those in our care extremely seriously. All asylum seekers in hotels are provided with full board accommodation with three meals a day served as well as all other essentials. In the aftermath of the Glasgow incident, our accommodation provider offered trauma response services and had regular conversations with residents to ensure mental health needs were addressed.”

A spokesperson for Mears said the hotel move was due to “rising numbers of service users due to cessation of all positive and negative decisions and the effective shut-down of the housing and lettings market” and it hopes to have everyone out into flats by the end of July. He went on: “We are acutely aware of the mental health issues created by the pandemic which affect all parts of the population and we are committed to doing everything we can to support staff and service users throughout this time in all types of asylum accommodation.

“Service users in hotels have daily access to welfare staff support and the Asylum Health Bridging Team from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde who are on site at hotels to support and, where appropriate, make referrals for specialist support. We have prioritised moving people from hotels who have been there for the longest.”