Written by James Patricks
What kind of accommodation does the UK provide for asylum seekers and how do we improve their conditions? I’ve seen people online claiming that we’re soft on asylum seekers in the UK claiming that we give them free hotels to stay in and I was surprised to look it up and find out that it’s true!
Asylum seekers in the UK are given hotels BUT this is only because of overspill from the regular accommodation they receive, the regular accommodation isn’t normally The Ritz but something more like this…
Once places in houses like this are freed up asylum seekers are placed in housing with strangers that’s overcrowded, unsanitary and often don’t even have cots for babies to sleep in.
Asylum seekers have to live in accommodation like this while they wait for their asylum claim to be assessed which can take up to 6 months. In the UK we turn away 2 thirds of asylum seekers so they’re not exactly coming here for the potential to stay in a hotel, eat food from a foodbank only to be turned back, they’re in serious danger and need help.
But what’s it like over in Europe? In France there’s the Calais jungle, a situation which we clearly do not want to happen in the UK.
However, according to the head of Sciences Po Law School’s legal clinic on migration, Christophe Pouly; “There is a chronic under-budgeting, which means that the state will never have the resources to meet the demand [for housing], From official information and what government actors say, we can see that it is not just a budgetary problem. There is a desire to put less money towards this.”
In France the government has taken a harsh approach to refugees and asylum seekers, however this has done nothing to lower the amount of people who arrive at France’s coastline every year and has only made asylum seekers’ lives harder with thousands living rough or camping in woods.
Germany’s approach has responded to the issue by creating these beautiful little units that house asylum seekers across Germany.
These housing units are small and often have to be built quickly to meet the demand but due to Germany’s efficient asylum system these housing units have actually ended up empty, so not an entirely perfect system.
However back over in France a charity called Caracol has begun setting up asylum seekers and refugees with young people struggling to pay rent in Paris. Renters live together in small flats and shared apartments paying only 200 Euros per month subsidised by the government and Caracol. So far the program has been a massive success helping asylum seekers find clean and decent accommodation and help solve the housing shortage in Paris for young workers.
If only there was some kind of program like that in the UK… oh wait there is!
Our issues with Homes for Ukraine have already been outlined in this article but at the end of the day 200,000 people opened their homes to refugees from Ukraine, why not have a program that does the same for the 48,000 asylum seekers who come to the UK every year?
It’d save the government money on providing substandard accommodation to crowds of refugees by allowing them to stay with British families and homes while they have their asylum claim considered.
It’d save money and improve people’s lives but that’s not inline with the government’s interests. We don’t live in a country where we care about asylum seekers let alone our own citizens. In the UK there are 600,000 empty homes and 227,000 homeless people meaning that every homeless person plus every asylum seeker could have their own home. We don’t have a housing crisis, we have a greed crisis that places profits over people.