Homeless man, 29, slams ‘dirty’ hostel stay costing taxpayers £800 a month

After becoming homeless in Glasgow earlier this year, 29-year-old Marius Samavicius was put up at Copland Hostel – but he says the room was ‘disgusting’ with a soiled bed and an infestation of bugs.

Marius Samavicius was left homeless after leaving England for Glagow

A homeless man has denounced hostel conditions after being forced to stay in a ‘disgusting’, bug-infested room which was costing taxpayers £800 a month.

Marius Samavicius, 29, was left homeless after leaving England for Glasgow earlier this year.

The Bournemouth arts graduate said he spent two months in a dirty, bug-infested room with a soiled bed at the Copland Hostel in Glasgow.

Now in a better place, Marius is sharing his story to help other residents who remain in appalling conditions, reports the Daily Record.

Homeless charities say Marius’ experience was not isolated and they have received numerous complaints about the “disgusting” accommodation.

Some former residents slammed the accommodations online, calling it a “diabolical” place and recalled being “scared” and “hungry” while there.

Marius said, “This place made me feel like no one cared and I felt like I had no hope after studying so hard.

“This hotel is a business and was taking me £800 a month to live like this.

Marcus said the room was dirty and infested with bugs

He said the bed was also soiled

“For the council, continuing to send people to this place is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Marius grew up in poverty in Lithuania and moved to the UK ten years ago, where he worked in factories and learned English.

After studying fine art at Bournemouth, he fulfilled his dream of moving to Glasgow six months ago in the hope of finding a job, but housing costs soared as the city emerged from its second lockdown and Marius was quickly out of savings.

The hotel was charging £800 a month for him to stay in the room

Marius first moved to the UK 10 years ago

He went to Glasgow City Council for help and was given emergency accommodation at Copland.

He said: “There were a lot of bugs and when I opened my room it was full of flies. There was a mess on the floor and the walls.

“I was given dirty sheets and towels and when I asked to be moved my new room was even worse.

“I understood the situation in which I was homeless. I can live in very basic conditions, but this place is so dirty that I was worried about my health – especially during a pandemic.

“There was a lot of noise and shouting.

Rental cost – paid by taxpayers – included three meals a day

“I was afraid it would be the rest of my life.

“I met people who had been there for six months or even longer.”

Marius said he spent his first two days starving before learning that the price of his accommodation was to include three meals a day.

He said the food was poor quality and not always available.

He also claims that staff did not always wear face masks and that some entered rooms without knocking and treated vulnerable residents poorly.

Marius says he was worried about the state of the bedroom, especially during the pandemic

Marius said: “The food seemed to be from charity, but you didn’t know how long it had been there and the packaging was sometimes opened.

“I got angry when I got a letter from the council and found out my weekly housing allowance was £206.82.

“I spoke to the staff and asked for more supplies, like toilet paper and clean towels.

“I didn’t want to complain too much at the time because I was already in a vulnerable position and didn’t want to be disadvantaged.”

After eight weeks at the hostel, Marius said he was offered much superior temporary accommodation nearby.

After he left, he filed a formal complaint with the hotel and council.

He said: “I’m in a better place now, but I’m still worried about the people there. I felt like if I didn’t talk, I’d be a hypocrite.

Colin McInnes, chairman of Homeless Project Scotland, said Marius’ experience was not isolated.

He said: “We have several times lodged complaints with the town hall about the conditions of this accommodation.

“We also invited Susanne Miller and Jim McBride (Director and Head of Homeless Services at Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership) to come and live there, bring their families and spend Christmas in these places – because they are disgusting.

“You could live in a five-bedroom house in Shawlands or a penthouse for £800 a month.

“The reason this is happening is because there is a lack of compassion and care.”

A spokesperson for the Copland Hotel said accommodation is “regularly inspected” by the council.

He added: “We are regularly inspected by the council and we comply with all council regulations.

“We are only paid to provide accommodation and breakfast, but during this pandemic the council was providing meals for residents in the lounge. This particular resident often refused to get food from the living room because he wanted to have it in the room.

“In terms of cleanliness, we have 24-hour staff including cleaners and maintenance who work to maintain standards, and I would like to mention that this particular resident on several occasions has not allowed cleaners to enter his room. At all times, residents are provided with toilet paper rolls and basic services.

“Mr. Samavicius gives a misleading image of our company. His complaint to us did not mention his intention to benefit other residents, he requested a refund, for services he did not pay for.

“I can assure you that our company and Glasgow City Council are working very hard to provide a good service and help the most disadvantaged members of our society.

‘Council staff work on our premises daily to provide extra help to homeless people and we would not be an accommodation provider for the council if they were unhappy with our services.’

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Linda G. Ibarra