Asylum seekers placed in squalid housing with no money in ‘shambolic’ plan to move thousands, charities say


Vulnerable people are being placed in squalid housing without any money as part of an operation to move thousands of asylum seekers out of hotels, The Independent can reveal.

Young children and pregnant women are being given just a few hours’ notice before being “shunted” across the country and left in dirty houses with damp problems, and forced to wait weeks to start receiving their weekly government allowance, charities and asylum seekers say.

The Home Office last month began “Operation Oak” to “accelerate” moving the 9,500 asylum seekers housed in hotels into longer-term accommodation. So far, about 2,500 are said to have been moved.

But charities have described the process as “shambolic”, warning that firms contracted by the Home Office to manage asylum housing are moving people from “one horrendous situation into another”, and that people were sometimes being moved multiple times within weeks without being tested for Covid, creating a public health risk.

In one case, a Kurdish family who lived in a London hotel for five months told The Independent they were informed at 8pm that they would be moved the following morning, and were taken to a hotel in Birmingham. Two weeks later, they were moved to a squalid house in Ipswich.


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