TAKING OVER THE ASYLUM
November 11, 2010 Thursday
Campaigners shock as 1300 face eviction from the city they call home
A YOUNG mum has spoken of her fears for her family s fate as they and hundreds of other asylum seekers in Glasgow were told they will get just three days notice to leave the city.
Esther, a 25-year-old who asked us not to publish her full name, said that with the ending of the contract between the UK Government and Glasgow City Council to house asylum seekers she is terrified for her future.
She was one of people who, within days of the ending of the agreement on Friday, rec-eived a notice telling her she will be asked to move home, to somewhere in Scotland.
Esther said: I was very disturbed when I received the letter. I don t know where I will end up living.
Many of my friends have also received the same letter and we are confused and scared.
The Evening Times reported yesterday how the 10-year-long deal with the council was ended after both side failed to reach agreement over the cost of providing housing and support for asylum seekers.
A letter from the UK Border Agency to the city s asylum seekers, states they will be moved in the next few weeks.
Currently around 1000 of Glasgow s 1300 asylum seekers are covered by the contract with the council and will be moved out of flats in the city to various as-yet unknown destinations.
Other contracts exist, with YMCA and Angel Group, but these are for far fewer properties than were available under the deal with the council.
The letter said: When-ever possible you will be given 3-5 days notice of the move to give you time to get ready. It stated: At the moment we cannot give you an exact date for any potential move. However, it will be sometime during the coming weeks.
You will be allowed to take two pieces of luggage per person. In addition, children s toys, baby care items, medical equipment, buggies and disability aids are also allowed.
The Home Office has told those affected, parents with children who have started the final year of school or college leading to Standard Grade or Highers, that bid will be made to house them within three miles of their current home, but it is not guaranteed.
Esther, who fled from Ghana to avoid a brutal tribal conflict in which both her mother and father were killed, the future appears bleak.
After fleeing to Britain in 2007, she has pursued an asylum case.
In the meantime, the young mum , has spent three years living in a tiny, one-bedroomed flat, so small she is forced to share a bed with her young son.
Last week she received her letter telling her she may be about to move house.
She said: We have gathered three years worth of things in our flat. How can I fit this into two suitcases?
She is now scared the letter means she is about to lose her case for asylum.
She added: Will this affect my claim? I am in danger if I am sent home. I m unsure how moving address will change things.
It is not fair to treat us like this. I am scared for my future and my son s future.
People working with asylum seekers said there was shock when the news was announced and the timescale involved.
Remzije Sherifi, development co-ordinator with Maryhill Integration Network said: This is the worst news in the last 10 years it is going to have a big impact on people s lives.
Glasgow has become home to many people and groups like Maryhill Integration Network have helped.
These people will have to start again from scratch.
Glasgow SNP MSP, Anne McLaughlin, who has already urged the Home Office to rethink its decision to end the Glasgow contract, as reported in last night s Evening Times, has now written to the Home Office over the letter.
She said: I was shocked at the insensitivity in sending out such a letter. That it was sent out at all was deeply insensitive and wholly unnecessary. The great anxiety that this has caused the asylum community in my constituency is unspeakable.