After finding himself homeless in Glasgow earlier this year, Marius Samavicius, 29, was given lodgings at the Copland Hostel – but he says the room was “disgusting” with a soiled bed and a bug infestation
A homeless man has hit out at conditions at a hostel after being forced to stay in a “disgusting” and bug-infested room which cost taxpayers £800-a-month.
Marius Samavicius, 29, found himself homeless after moving from England to Glasgow earlier this year.
The Bournemouth art graduate said he endured 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 the other residents still staying in the dreadful conditions, the Daily Record reports.
Homeless charities say Marius’s experience was not isolated, and they have received multiple complaints about the “disgusting” accommodation.
Some previous residents slammed the lodgings online, branding it a “diabolical” place and recalled being “scared” and “hungry” during their stay.
Marius said: “This place made me feel like no one cares and I felt like I didn’t have any hope after studying so hard.
“This hotel is a business and was taking £800 a month for me to live like this.
“For the council to keep sending people to this place is a huge waste of tax payers’ money.”
Marius grew up in poverty in Lithuania and moved to the UK a decade ago, where he worked in factories and learned English.
After studying fine art in Bournemouth, he fulfilled his dream of moving to Glasgow six months ago in the hope of finding a job, but costs of accommodation spiralled as the city emerged from its second lockdown and Marius had soon run out of savings.
He went to Glasgow City Council for help and was given emergency accommodation at the Copland.
He said: “There were a lot of insects and when I opened my room it was full of flies. There was mess on the floor and walls.
“I was given unclean bedsheets and towels and when I asked to change my room my new room was even worse.
“I understood the situation I found myself in being homeless. I can live in very basic conditions, but this place is just so dirty I was worrying about my health – especially during a pandemic.
“There was a lot of noise and shouting.
“I was worried this was the rest of my life.
“I met some people who had been there six months or even longer.”
Marius said he spent his first two days hungry before learning the price of his accommodation should include three meals a day.
He said food was of a poor quality and not always available.
He also claims that staff were not always wearing face masks and some would enter rooms without knocking and treat vulnerable residents poorly.
Marius said: “The food seemed to be from charities but you didn’t know how long it had been there and the packaging was sometimes open.
“I got upset when I received a letter from the council and learned my weekly housing benefit was £206.82.
“I spoke to staff and requested more provisions, 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 I didn’t want to be disadvantaged.”
After eight weeks at the hostel, Marius said he was offered far superior temporary accommodation nearby.
After leaving, he lodged a formal complaint with the hotel and council.
He said: “I’m in a better situation now but I still worry about the people there. I felt like if I didn’t speak up I would be a hypocrite.”
Colin McInnes, chairman of Homeless Project Scotland, said Marius’ experience was not an isolated one.
He said: “We have made complaints to the council several times with regard to the conditions of this accommodation.
“We’ve also invited Susanne Miller and Jim McBride (chief officer and head of homeless services at Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership) to come and live there, bring their families and have Christmas in these places – because they’re disgusting
“You could live in a five bed house in Shawlands or a penthouse for £800 a month.
“The reason this is happening is because there’s a lack of compassion and care.”
A spokesman for the Copland Hotel said the lodgings are “regularly inspected” by the council.
He added: “We are regularly inspected by the council and we comply with all the council regulations.
“We are only paid to provide accommodation and breakfast, but during this pandemic the council was providing meals for the residents in the lounge. This particular resident often refused to get the food from the lounge as he wanted to have it in the room.
“In relation to cleanliness, we have 24 hour staff, including cleaners and maintenance, working to maintain standards, and I would like to mention that this particular resident on several occasions did not allow cleaners to go into his room. At all times residents are provided with toilet rolls and basic services.
“Mr Samavicius is providing a misleading picture of our business. His complaint to us did not mention his intention to benefit other residents, he requested a refund, for services he has not paid.
“I can assure you that our business and Glasgow City Council are working very hard to provide a good service and help to the most disadvantaged members of our society.
“Council staff are working on our premises on a daily basis providing further help for homeless people and we would not be an accommodation provider for the council if they were not satisfied with our services.”
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.