Asylum: Housing

Home Office written question – answered on 18th June 2021.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that people seeking asylum in the UK are housed in covid-19 compliant conditions.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office and their accommodation providers have been working with Public Health bodies throughout the pandemic to put in place a number of measures to support people in the asylum system who are affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including working closely with providers to make sure the most vulnerable people within the system receive the support they need.

Our Initial Accommodation (IA) has been reconfigured to meet local and national health guidance. People accommodated in hostel-based accommodation receive translated guidance in relation to social distancing, potential symptoms, self-isolating and hygiene requirements. Onsite assistance and guidance are provided by support staff.

In Dispersed Accommodation, which is commonly family houses or homes of multiple occupancy accommodating small numbers, our asylum accommodation providers have put in place a range of measures and additional support to enable households to comply with public measures on social distancing and self-isolation. This has included food parcels and other items for people who are unable to leave the house, provision of telephony for those who are isolating and do not have a telephone, as well as increased welfare contact for those who are isolating. Additionally, service user essential living needs -including for cleaning and sanitary items - are met through a weekly cash allowance.

All asylum seekers in our accommodation have access to our Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service provider, Migrant Help. They can contact Migrant Help 24 hours a day if they need assistance or guidance on COVID-19 or other issues – including reporting any concerns with accommodation.

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