Thank you for contacting me about accommodation for asylum seekers
I understand your concern and anger regarding this important issue. This is a complex area and I hope I can provide some further information in this response to help explain the current situation.
I believe that it is right that the UK has safe and legal routes to help the world’s most vulnerable people, many coming from simply unimaginably dangerous places. As part of this, an asylum seeker who would otherwise be destitute is able to obtain support from the time they arrive in the UK, until their claim is fully determined and they have exhausted their appeal rights. In addition, failed asylum seekers receive support who would otherwise be destitute and are unable to leave the UK for reasons beyond their control.
You are right to raise the issue of asylum seekers being housed in hotels. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, I understand it has been necessary for the Home Office to house a number of asylum seekers in hotels. This is to ensure they can comply with social distancing guidelines. Clearly the health of asylum seekers and those working in the system is of vital importance during a pandemic of this kind.
Since March, the number of people within the asylum system has risen. This is due to the fact that the Government temporarily ceased ending asylum support for those whose claims have been granted or refused. This was necessary to stop people from being made homeless during lockdown and ensure they are able to follow social distancing guidelines. I have been assured that this is a temporary measure and the Government is constantly reviewing this policy.
I understand the Government is now working with local authorities to review these measures and return asylum policy to a pre-Coronavirus footing.
I understand your concerns regarding the safety and health of those in asylum accommodation. I have been reassured that all asylum seekers in this temporary accommodation have been provided guidance in their own language on hygiene, washing hands, social distancing, coronavirus symptoms and what to do if they become symptomatic.
A range of measures have also been put in place to support asylum seekers and assure they are protected from Coronavirus. This includes staggered mealtimes and providing cleaning supplies for free. It is also important to consider that those placed in hotel accommodation receive free meals, toiletries and other support.