Housing people seeking refugee protection in communities whilst they wait for a decision on their claim for asylum has been UK Government policy since 1999.
As people seeking asylum do not have the right to work, they can apply for Home Office housing and support if they have no other means of supporting themselves. People have no choice over where or how they are housed and are given £47.39 a week in asylum support (£9.58 for those in full board accommodation).
At the end of 2019, the accommodation estate was moved from one set of contracts to another. Clearsprings, Mears and Serco are contracted by the Home Office to provide housing for people seeking asylum, as part of a £4bn ten-year contract. Though promises of improvements were made, extreme mismanagement of this transition led to huge amounts of hardship.
Problems with poor property standards, inappropriate emergency accommodation, and a lack of transparency on providers’ performance persist. All too often, people seeking asylum are left in low quality housing, struggling to access help and support, often damaging their physical and mental health.
More recently, despite falling numbers of asylum claims, an unprecedented number of people seeking asylum have been forced into unsafe and inappropriate institutional housing, including disused military barracks. This is an alarming divergence from people being housed in local communities.
How people seeking asylum is housed is about more than providing shelter. It is emblematic of the UK’s vision of providing sanctuary to people seeking refuge. We want people seeking asylum to be welcomed as our neighbours, not warehoused in camps.
We campaign alongside our partners for an asylum system that enables people to keep themselves safe and rebuild their lives free from persecution. People seeking asylum should be housed in homes that guarantee their safety, privacy and freedom, and enable them to live as part of the wider community.
Contact us to find out more about current campaigns, our you can read the most up to date news on asylum accommodation in the posts below.