Concerns have been raised in Telford over a deadline for the Afghan families to leave the hotel

Afghan family
Afghan family

According to the Association of Local Governments (LGA), thousands of Afghan individuals and families staying in 59 makeshift bridge hotels across the country have been given notice to leave accommodation by the end of next month.

That number includes six families in Telford & Wrekin, who had to find a place to live on their own by the end of August.

About 8,000 Afghans have been housed in hotels across the country since they were evacuated from Afghanistan when the Taliban took control in 2021.

The government says hotels have never been a suitable place for refugees to live long-term, and that it is funding a £250 million expansion of the Local Authority Housing Fund to help councils find adequate housing for those affected.

LGA and the Telford & Wrekin Council have raised concerns about the Government’s deadline.

LGA says there is a risk of Afghan families becoming homeless and ending up in temporary accommodation due to a shortage of available housing.

A statement from the organization said: “It is good that the government has responded to LGA’s call for additional funding and provided the council with £35m new money to support the case work in the hotel and to fund potential homeless requests.

“A second Local Authority Housing Fund round of £250 million has also been launched with a focus on helping councils find housing to accommodate Afghans.”

However, he added: “The acute shortage of available housing across the country and the short time until the end of the notification period make the ability to quickly secure reasonable accommodation for all Afghan families in connecting hotels very challenging.

“Boards are increasingly concerned that many may end up needing homeless support if families – some of whom are vulnerable and including children – fail to find property or decline the offers they receive.”

He continued: “There has to be better engagement with the council and the Ministry of Home Affairs has to properly take into account local concerns and impacts. Genuine partnerships are urgently needed with local governments to better plan how to meet our urgent housing needs in the short and long term.” . the term across all asylum and resettlement schemes.”

The new LGA Board Chair Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin Council Labor leader, in his first address at the annual LGA conference today, is expected to say: “The Council has a proud history of encouraging and supporting asylum seekers and refugees to settle in the UK and rebuild lives But the combined pressure from government asylum and resettlement schemes is growing on the board. We are at a crisis point.

“We want to work with the government to fix this. Not only in the most supportive way for people arriving in the UK, but also addressing the unsustainable pressure on our local services and our communities.”

Councilor Kelly Middleton, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for healthier, safer and stronger communities and partnerships, also said they were concerned about the deadline.

“We now have one hotel in Telford and Wrekin which is being used as a liaison hotel by the Home Office to provide temporary accommodation for Afghan refugees,” he said.

“It currently hosts six families while Telford & Wrekin Council supports them to find their own accommodation, as we have done since the liaison hotel was used by the Home Office.

“The Home Office has also assigned, without our approval, other hotels for immigration cases. This type of temporary housing is not good for those placed in hotels or the local economy as it means the hotel is not used for other recreational, business or sporting events.

“The council is concerned about the government’s deadline, which means those in hotels will be shifted to temporary housing already under pressure at council expense.”

In response to the concerns, a Government spokesperson said: “Hotels are not, and were never designed to be, long-term accommodation for resettled Afghans in the UK and it is not in their best interest to stay in hotel accommodation for months or years. . eventually.

“That is why we have announced a plan, supported by a new £285 million fund, to accelerate the resettlement of Afghan nationals to long-term homes. Extensive government support is available and we will continue to do all we can to help Afghan families as they rebuild their lives here.”

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