THE desperate plight of destitute asylum seekers in Glasgow has been told to MSPs.
Race and religious hate crimes, homelessness, hunger and risk of sexual exploitation is the reality described for men and women refused the right to remain and left with no access to public funds.
The Equalities and Human Rights Committee at Holyrood has heard from the group Scottish Faith Action on Refugees, who gathered evidence from people providing support for asylum seekers in Glasgow.
The MSPs were told that people are dependent on the shelters and on foodbanks but even then much of what they are given cannot be cooked because they are homeless.
While there is a night shelter for men there is no equivalent facility for single women leaving them reliant on the charity of friends or often strangers to offer them shelter.
A volunteer at the Glasgow night shelter for destitute asylum seekers, told of the help offered to men in the city.
The volunteer said: “We have the overnight use of a tv/dining room, a kitchen, washing facilities and a large hall where the men sleep on good quality mattresses with plenty of bedding.
“We would very much like to offer the same provision for destitute women but we have had enormous difficulty finding premises which will accept women. We will not give up in our search.”
The charity said many of the asylum seekers spend the day in trying to find refuge at warm places like public libraries around the city.
It said: “This can make libraries places for racist and xenophobic hate crime.”
Lynnda Wardle, Director of Interfaith Glasgow, said: “For those who are destitute. Most will not have access to cooking facilities to cook their own meals and to cook food that they like to eat.”
She said for women there is less support and they are a great risk of exploitation.
She said: “Single women are really at risk in this enforced destitution cycle. At the moment there is no official shelter for women.
“Positive Action in Housing can help with temporary short term accommodation and there are two flats for women that can be used for destitute asylum seeking women but these can only accommodate four women.”