Asylum Accommodation

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 are at risk of destitution. People have no choice over where or how they are housed and are locked into surviving in poverty with asylum support rates not even covering basic living costs.

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.

From 2021, as well as increased use of unsuitable hotel accommodation (costing £8m per day), the Government has sought to develop a national portfolio of large-scale asylum ‘accommodation centres’ in which to place people seeking asylum in the UK.

New sites have included the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset (already costing over £22m) and the ex-military barracks at RAF Wethersfield in Essex. The inhumane living conditions at these sites cause lasting harm and have been described as ‘quasi-detention‘ by a parliamentary inquiry.

Asylum Matters believes people seeking asylum should be housed in communities, not camps, barracks or barges. 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.

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