Millions of pounds of taxpayer money is being spent by Glasgow City Council every year on temporary accommodation for the homeless, some of which has been described as ‘uninhabitable’.

Across Glasgow, an ever-increasing amount is spent on short-term stays for the homeless every year, including more than £8million over the past four years to private hotel and bed and breakfast providers.

Those using the services say while some of these are acceptable, others are unsanitary, unsafe, and leave vulnerable users open to approach by drug dealers.

Reports of drug dealers roaming corridors, locks being missing from hotel room doors, and a general lack of support from staff, are causing particular concern for those using the council’s homelessness service.

Angela Keen, a recovering drug addict who has been in and out of Glasgow’s homeless system in recent years, is very familiar with these locations.

The 36-year-old said: “I’m a single mum, I’ve got three girls and one boy. I had moved out to Easterhouse and where I was I was isolated.

“A lot of stuff came up, family issues, my uncle died, and I realised I couldn’t do it. I turned back to drugs.

“I used heroin, Diazepam, cocaine, for about six or seven years. That was the darkest days of my life."

Angela, from Maryhill, has stayed in various hotels and bed and breakfasts paid for by the council.

By her account, it is a “toss of a coin” where you end up, and your destination can have a massive impact on your next steps in life.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow homeless crisis: Warning of 'corpses on the street' this winter

Angela said: “I was in the St Enoch Hotel, I was in the Copland House. There was bed bugs, girls with bites all over their body. They’re in the middle of nowhere – I didn’t know anything and the staff wouldn’t even speak to you. They just wanted you in and out, that was it.

“In places like this, all you have to do is use. The people in there are manic.

“There’s so many places in Glasgow where it is fantastic to be, but so many where it’s not. It’s a toss of a coin.

“The council has now set me up at Aspire, it’s brilliant. Whatever is going on for me, I can go in and talk. The staff just want the best for me – staff go above and beyond.

“My life has turned around massively. This is one of the good places. If I was put back into the St Enoch Hotel I would be back using.

“There, they chap your door asking if you want to buy drugs. I just knew this time I had to do it right.

“When they’re spending millions of pounds a year, they should be spending it places where there are better outcomes for people.”

Angela is not the only person critical of some of the hotels and hostels housing the city’s homeless.

Multiple accounts from those using the services online, including on TripAdvisor, show unwashed bedding, insecure windows and broken furniture. Other sites, such as the St Enoch Hotel, have been reported to be housing black mould and damp.

A number of hotels across the city are known to provide nightly shelter for the homeless.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow's homelessness strategy needs ‘completely overhauled’ after council staff blunders

One company alone, with multiple site, raked in £5.2m in taxpayer money to provide lodgings for the city’s homeless.

These include Chez Nous in the West End, The Willow, The Kelvin Tartan Lodge, The Victorian House and the Old Pond Hotel.

Other upmarket guest houses across the city are also reported to have been used by the council.

Despite nights being offered in hotels, some believe this is still not good enough.

Speaking to representatives of frontline volunteer group The Invisibles, they echoed Angela’s statement about support being provided, and the care given at these stop gap shelters.

One member said: “Some people have serious mental health issues. What kind of support are they getting?

“They are told to leave first thing in the morning and told to come in last thing. There’s no interaction with anybody. Their mental health is deteriorating because of this.

“If you’re putting people into a room, at least make sure it’s a comfortable bed, it’s dry, it’s got furniture. It’s not hard. Some people are paying £50 a night and they’re getting floorboards and a p**** bed. That’s the bottom line.

“The amount we’re spending, it’s just ridiculous. We’ve seen the state of some of these places. But the very next day they’ve to do the exact same again. They’re lucky if there’s a single, s*****, p**** bed, damp room, no nothing. That’s a bed and breakfast for you - it’s that bad. People who go in with mental health conditions, they are made worse by this. Nobody looks after them.”

Evening Times:

In total, Glasgow City Council spent almost £26m last year on temporary accommodation for the city’s homeless population, some of whom wait years to be rehoused, being moved on an almost monthly basis.

In the past four years, £98m has been spent on these stop-gap homes for people, with year-on-year figures continuing to rise.

While for some the answer is support and care, for others the key is more housing to provide breathing space for services.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “Temporary accommodation is the bedrock of our housing safety net. The staggering cost of it is the price we pay for almost four decades of under investment in social housing which has led to the housing emergency we face today.

Evening Times:

READ MORE: Glasgow's temporary housing 'was like being in jail’

“The true cost is paid by those who lose their homes and find that the only help available is a shabby so-called bed and breakfast. While there is some good temporary housing we have heard countless stories of stained and dirty rooms made uninhabitable by infestations of pests like mice or bedbugs.

“That’s unacceptable and it’s why Shelter Scotland is pleased to see the Scottish Government has been consulting on minimum standards for temporary accommodation and committing to extend the ban on long-term use of such properties to everyone.”

“Ultimately, if we really want to end homelessness we need to keep up momentum on building social homes. We’re currently witnessing the biggest expansion since the 1970s but that progress mustn’t be allowed to stall or the situation will get worse.”

The council themselves acknowledge that spending millions on bed and breakfasts and hostels is a system which needs overhauling.

Within their own complaint logs there are multiple examples of complaints from service users about the standard of living spaces being provided.

Housing First, the new programme aimed at tackling homelessness for those on the street and in this expensive temporary accommodation, will now see service users given secure tenancies.

Evening Times:

However, opposition councillors have questioned why private companies are profiting from these vulnerable families’ situation.

Langside councillor Tanya Wisely said: “Despite commitments to a Housing First approach, which Greens support, it’s shocking that the HSCP is still handing over millions of pounds each year to private B&B owners who are profiting from housing vulnerable people, including young children, in deeply unsatisfactory conditions.

“The SNP administration must now bring a report on its response to the city’s homelessness crisis to the next Full Council, and that must include a clear, timed commitment to end the use of B&B accommodation once and for all.”

A spokeswoman for Glasgow’s Health & Social Care Partnership said: “B&Bs and hotels are used by homelessness services as a last resort, when no other temporary accommodation is available. We aim to reduce the use of hostels, B&Bs and hotels through our Housing First programme which quickly provides people with complex needs such as addiction or mental health problems with settled mainstream tenancies.

“Monthly inspections are currently carried out on B&B establishments to assess standards. This is a voluntary arrangement with the properties’ proprietors. B&Bs are also subject to HMO licensing conditions.”