Asylum-seekers in ‘temporary, emergency’ hotels

Over the past month, there have been several reports in the media of the numbers of asylum seekers who remain accommodated in hotels, more than one year after the Home Office started housing asylum seekers in hotels as a ‘temporary, emergency’ measure during the first Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.

Serious concerns have been reported in relation to unsuitable conditions and inadequate support, including:

  1. A lack of any financial support whatsoever for residents up until October 2020, and a paltry sum of £8 per week since this date, has left many residents without the means to buy basic essentials such as adequate clothing.
  2. A lack of information and support around entitlements and access to services, as well as a lack of financial support for travel and other practical barriers to accessing these services, has left many residents without access to necessary support such as basic healthcare and mental health provisions, immigration advice or to education. Many vulnerable residents have been unable to access Covid-19 vaccinations and remain at increased risk from the virus.
  3. Inadequate food. (The Refugee Council’s recent report details the case of a 14-year-old boy who was sent to hospital after losing 3kg in body weight due to the poor quality of the food provided).
  4. Length of time spent in unsuitable conditions, uncertainty around when they will be moved to non-temporary accommodation, combined with restrictions on freedom to come and go from the hotel, have resulted in some residents describing feeling ‘trapped’ in ‘prison-like’ conditions.

Further reading:

  • Refugee Council Report “I sat watching life go by my window for so long“, here
  • Article by The Guardian “Asylum seekers treated ‘in dehumanising way’ by UK host hotelshere
  • Article by Independent “‘Dehumanising’: Asylum seekers in hotels left without shoes and given ‘inadequate’ food, report findshere 

This blog entry was written by our Senior Youth Caseworker Bobby Curtis.