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Leslie Anderson reports
"The Bellgrove takes in 500,000"
 real 56k

Frontline Scotland
Watch the full Heartbreak Hotel programme
 real 56k

Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 23:30 GMT
Hotel is 'worst' homeless hostel
Bellgrove Hotel
The Bellgrove houses 100 homeless people
A privately-run homeless hostel which receives 500,000 a year in government money has been described as the worst in Scotland.

A BBC Scotland investigation into homelessness in Glasgow also found that the city is struggling to cope with an ever-increasing number of destitute and desperate people.

Frontline Scotland, which is due to be shown on Tuesday on BBC One at 2235, discovered that the Bellgrove Hotel in the city's Gallowgate is home to 100 residents who each pay 100 a week in housing benefit.

Liz Nicholson
Liz Nicholson: "Dumping ground"
However, the programme heard allegations that unsupervised residents were allowed to cause chaos and accusations that profit was put before care.

Experts who work with charities for the homeless were appalled at the conditions.

Liz Nicholson, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "Public money is going in to fund this and, and what are people getting for their money, you know, they are literally getting a roof over their head, and that is it.

"I can understand why people sometimes say it's better in the streets than in The Bellgrove.

"People should be getting a care package as well. They should be getting their addiction problems addressed by some support there.

Allegations denied

"The Bellgrove is a dumping ground for people who have been really abandoned by the statutory services, health, housing and they're left there totally, totally excluded from society day after day."

One former resident said: "I've been in every hostel. I've been in Cheapside Street, I've been in Bell Street, I've been in Auldhouse, Great Eastern.

"The worst hostel I'll tell you, without doubt, was The Bellgrove.

Bellgrove Hotel
A former resident said the Bellgrove is "worst"
However, the allegations were denied by Bellgrove co-owner Ron Barr.

He said: "I mean you have a situation where we have got to get a multiple occupancy licence.

"We have done an awful lot before that particular licence was requested.

"To come up to the standards, we've spent in the region of 400,000 over the last four years.

"As far as I'm concerned I have got no embarrassment or upset about being involved with The Bellgrove Hotel."

Drug problems

The programme also highlighted the problems faced in council-run hostels and showed evidence of widespread drug taking.

But Glasgow City Council said that with political support and extra government money the root of the problem would be tackled.

Depute director of housing Margaret Vass said: "I think we're making great, great strides and certainly work coming out of the homeless task force is recognising now that homelessness is not just about a roof.

"It's about prevention; it's about getting services in place to stop people becoming homeless in the first place. "

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See also:

17 Oct 00 | Scotland
Heartbreak Hotel: transcript
30 Jul 00 | Scotland
Benefits system 'failing clients'
13 Mar 00 | Scotland
Call to end housing trap
01 Mar 00 | Scotland
MSPs rebel over council cash
11 Feb 00 | Scotland
Capital homeless 'crisis'
28 Feb 00 | Scotland
Scotland the poor
16 Sep 99 | Scotland
MSPs debate 'rough sleeping' issue
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