Friday, 24 September 2010

Something Strange Happened On The Net

The following article about the plight of Helen Bih, a disabled asylum seeker who has been forced to move home six times in the past 12 months because the flats allocated to her in Glasgow by the Angel Group, the organisation contracted by the government to provide accommodation for asylum seekers, was suitable for a disabled person, appeared on the internet site of the Glasgow Evening Times on Tuesday but has since mysteriously disappeared. Rumour has it that legal action was threatened against the paper if it did not take the piece down but the wonders of the internet means that a cached version of the article is still available on-line, which is where the following text is copied from.

Disabled asylum seeker moved six times in one year

Evening Times; Glasgow (UK), Sep 21, 2010 | by Caroline Wilson

HUMAN rights campaigners have called for an investigation into a government-contracted private landlord following its "inhumane" treatment of a disabled asylum seeker.

The demand was made after Helen Bih, 41, was re-housed six times in 12 months. The Glasgow accommodation was found by the Angel Group - an agency contracted by the government to find appropriate housing for asylum seekers.

None of the flats were accessible for her and she was left a virtual prisoner in her home. In the last property, in Ibrox, Helen said she was unable to use the shower or toilet and was forced to use a commode in her bedroom.

The mother-of-two, who fled Cameroon after witnessing the death of several family members and who has very limited mobility, said the repeated moves and the living conditions she had to endure left her "wanting to die".

Charity Positive Action in Housing (PAIH) is demanding an inquiry after concerns about Helen's treatment were raised by several agencies, including The Unity Centre, Scottish Refugee Council, British Red Cross and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

Following mounting pressure from PAIH Helen has now been moved to appropriate accommodation by Glasgow City Council's social work department.

Charity director Robina Quereshi said: "Helen cried with relief when she was told Angel Group was no longer housing her."

Ms Quereshi has written to the Scottish Parliament calling for the Angel Group to be held to account.

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