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A mother's story: water dripping from the ceiling and sleeping on the floor

Augusta Akabuah, 31, originally from Ghana, came to the UK to seek asylum to escape a forced marriage.

Her flat in Maryhill, which she and her four-year-old son, both pictured above, share, has one room for living and sleeping in, plus a small toilet and kitchen.

A major water leak from the flat above recently left a large crack across her ceiling, adding to the stress of a situation which Akabuah says is affecting her health.

"I have a single bed and recently a friend from the church gave me a bed for my son," she said. "Before that we were used to sleeping on the floor.

"In May we were sleeping on the floor when my son started shouting and I realised water was dripping from the ceiling on the TV and the heater.

"Heavy concrete has been cracked [right across the ceiling]. It is still there."

She added: "Around two or three months ago, I fainted in the house and collapsed. I tried to call for help, but I couldn't finish the call, so my son chatted to the 999 [operator] until they got to the house.

"I was in hospital for three days and my doctor said it was stress ... It is very tough seeking asylum. But I always want to be strong for my son."

The SRC report compiled examples from their casework inbox as well as focus groups, which included input from asylum applicants and front-line workers that work with asylum seekers. It highlighted cases of overcrowding, including a family of four where the husband had to sleep on the couch while his wife and two daughters shared one bedroom for nine months.

In two cases, two single parents with one child each were sharing a two bedroom flat with rooms in which there was only space for a single bed and a cot.

The report also notes that service providers also reported incidences where women had been moved to new accommodation with no baby equipment and being left overnight with no bed for their baby, "leading to the dangerous practice of bed sharing".

And a lack of lockable doors in shared accommodation was also highlighted, raising concerns over safety and fear of having property stolen. One woman told of sharing with three other women and being "very afraid" as they were strangers and allowed men to enter the property. But when she asked for a room with a lock, she was told none was available.

The cleanliness of accommodation was also a source of concern, with issues including fridges so dirty they were unusable and no adequate cleaning equipment being provided.

One man reported a fleabite, which developed into cellulitis, leading to him spending a week in hospital.

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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