Peer urges housing associations to do more to help asylum seekers

Housing associations need to engage in the problems surrounding
asylum seekers and stop keeping their “heads down”, the director of
the social policy research charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
said last week.

Lord Richard Best told a fringe session on housing asylum seekers
and refugees that housing associations needed to address the issue
if they were to be at the heart of the communities they served.

“It’s quite surprising that, of the agencies most engaged with
asylum seekers, the registered social landlord has been so absent
from the scene,” he said. “The private landlord has been in the
front line and housing associations have kept their heads

“If you are in business for neighbourhoods then that’s about more
than just doing the housing job. It’s about opening the door and
showing the hand of friendship to people in the neighbourhood.
Housing associations are a huge resource to people new to a
neighbourhood. You are advocates for the people in their area.”

Best added that not everyone was racist and there would be people
prepared to “have new asylum seekers round for a cup of tea or be
willing to show them around”. He added that housing associations
could engage in what is “a huge problem.”

Freda Chaloner, the director of the National Asylum Support
Service, also called on housing associations to get involved in
discussions on the future provision of accommodation for asylum

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