Housing for immigrants “inadequate”

Housing charity Shelter has criticized "inadequate" housing conditions for immigrants. 16 October 2008. The homelessness charity insists the government should lift employment restrictions on asylum seekers, because of the rising number of migrants facing deprivation.

The No Place Like Home? report, by Shelter, accuses the government leaving asylum seekers, particularly those whose application had been refused, in destitution. The charity said that people were slipping through the welfare net due to gaps in the provision of accommodation and lack of work opportunities.

Shelter calls on the Government to improve regulations on the condition of housing in the private rented sector. It also calls for more empty homes to be brought back into use in order to increase the available accommodation in asylum dispersal areas.

The report said an inadequate housing response to the expansion of the EU had inflamed tensions between residents and migrant groups.

The report highlighted an Independent Asylum Commission survey published in June which estimated that only 9,365 refused asylum seekers had been given financial aid by councils under section 4 support, compared to an estimated 283,500 refused asylum seekers living in the UK. Section 4 support is given to those who are unable to return to their home countries.

Adam Sampson, chief executive of Shelter, said: "In recent years, high levels of migration from new EU accession states have thrown this debate into sharp relief, particularly as EU migrants have dispersed to a much wider geographical area than traditional migration patterns.

"Evidence indicates that the housing response has been inadequate to date. Problems created by the proliferation of tied accommodation and houses in multiple occupation, and increases in rough sleeping have had negative impacts on migrants themselves and also served to exacerbate tensions with resident communities."

The Government has said an independent review has been set up to tackle the problems faced by tenants and landlords.

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