Due to the scale and pace of the evacuation in Afghanistan we have had to use hotels as a temporary accommodation measure.
We do not want to keep people in temporary accommodation for any longer than is absolutely necessary. We have moved – or are in the process of moving - over 6,000 people into permanent homes since June 2021. There is a huge effort underway to support the families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels are given the best start to their life in the UK. Whilst families are in bridging hotels, we want to give them the best start to their life in the UK, whilst recognising from time to time we do need to move people between bridging hotels.
Schools and colleges have access to a range of government support programmes to help children and young people with their mental health and we are also rolling out Mental Health Support Teams that work with groups of schools and colleges, identifying specialist needs of pupils in their areas.
All refugees in bridging accommodation have now registered with a GP or are being helped to do so. A full range of vaccinations is being offered, alongside mental health support and other services, and the NHS has provided an additional £3m of funding to CCGs to support the specific needs of the evacuees.
We have been working to support Afghan families into homes of their own, so they can settle into their local communities, feel safe and independent and rebuild their lives in the UK. We are also looking at ways to make more suitable homes available in the private rented sector, and to provide alternatives to hotels for families who may have to remain in bridging accommodation for long periods: for example, by making available Service Family Accommodation (SFA) units on the MoD estate where appropriate.