The Home Office has announced it will stop evicting people seeking asylum from government accommodation for three months, while the country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Home Office Minister Chris Philip said the government will review the policy in June. This is one of several recommendations that the Refugee Council, together with colleagues from across the sector including NACCOM, the No Accommodation Network, has called on the government to implement as a matter of urgency, to protect the health and safety of people seeking asylum, and the public at large, during this pandemic.
In response to this development, Lisa Doyle, Executive Director of Advocacy and Engagement at the Refugee Council, said:
“We warmly welcome this positive move from the Home Office to guarantee that no person seeking asylum will be evicted from their accommodation during this time of national emergency. Newly recognised refugees often face destitution and homelessness when the Home Office terminates their support, and now is not the time to be leaving people with no place to live.
Building on this new assurance, we will continue to call on the government to provide appropriate, self-contained accommodation for people seeking asylum, to enable them to self-isolate safely, as soon as reasonably possible. We will also continue to ask the government to ensure those who’ve had their asylum claims refused can access accommodation and support, as without this they cannot self-isolate safely.”
In these unprecedented times, government policy on refugees and people seeking asylum is changing on a daily basis. We are tracking these new developments on our dedicated Covid-19 web page here.