Housing body reveals extent of exploitation by private landlords

The Chartered Institute of Housing is urging the government to
examine why some housing agencies are unwilling or unable to
provide accommodation to asylum seekers and refugees.

The call follows the publication of the CIH’s report into housing
for asylum seekers which reveals that the private rented sector
used by the National Asylum Support Service “leads in a minority of
cases to problems of exploitation and poor conditions”.

The report says that Nass sometimes awards block contracts to the
private rented sectors at rent levels “in excess of the average”.

The CIH wants to achieve greater community cohesion and “ensure the
principle that accommodation for refugees should be in secure
integrated communities which have been informed and prepared for
their acceptance”. Nass should develop a housing-based dispersal
system providing good quality accommodation and support services
and a needs assessment to deal with asylum seekers and refugees
ensuring that a wide range of services is covered.

Minimum standards for private sector accommodation with rents set
at local levels should also be encouraged and Nass should only make
contracts with private landlords after consultation with the local
authority concerned, says the report.

Earlier this month, the government appealed for more social
landlords to offer accommodation when Nass renews contracts in

Meanwhile, the government has announced it still plans to go ahead
with piloting protection zone schemes for asylum seekers within
their region of origin, despite failing to get the backing of the
European Union summit last week.

A Home Office spokesperson said the government was planning to
develop pilots with other European countries that backed the
scheme. The protection zones will be in asylum seekers’ own region
of origin, and they would go straight there rather than coming to
the European Union first. The zones could be used to provide
shelter from war.

He confirmed asylum applications could potentially be processed
within the zones. It follows last week’s decision by the government
to scrap plans for processing camps outside the EU that would
require asylum seekers coming to the EU first.

Community Care‘s Right to Refuge campaign seeks to improve
the procedures for processing asylum seekers’ applications. 

Providing a Safe Haven from 024 7685 1700.

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