"There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word,
which means more to me than any other.
That word is ENGLAND." - Sir Winston Churchill
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Half of asylum seekers complain UK housing funded by YOU is 'completely inadequate'
FIFTY percent of asylum seekers surveyed about the quality of housing they have been provided, which is paid for by the taxpayer, have branded it as "completely inadequate", it has emerged.
Refugees housed across Birmingham and the West Midlands were quizzed about the standard of accommodation they were provided and a further 17 per cent described it as just "mediocre".
The properties were provided by G4S, one of three companies hired by the Home Office to provide asylum seeker accommodation up and down the country.
Just 11 percent of people asked said the housing was excellent, eight percent described it as good, and 14 percent said it was adequate for their needs.
The survey was carried out by Migrant Voice, an organisation set up to encourage a more balanced and inclusive debate on immigrationin Britain.
GETTY Half of asylum seekers surveyed said housing provided by the UK government was inadequate.
FACEBOOK The number of refugees coming to the UK has swelled since the Syrian crisis.
It has been submitted to an ongoing Home Affairs Committee inquiry into accommodation for asylum seekers, set up in the wake of the Syria refugee crisis.
The report said: "Migrant Voice has undertaken a research into the living conditions of asylum seekers in Birmingham in housing provided by the Home Office through private housing providers – in this case respondents only named G4S.
"The research came about as a result of our members in Birmingham raising issues around their housing.
"We wanted to find out what the situation was, and if there are problems, to find out whether they are unique or widespread and to come up with recommendations.
"The questionnaires asked participants to describe their accommodation, asked what was good about the accommodation, what were the problems, and what were the recommendations."
Migrant Voice said research was ongoing and these were preliminary findings.
The report added: "The problems mentioned fall into two key areas: The physical state of the accommodation with several sub-sections of concerns, and the interaction with the housing providers."
Problems reported included leaking roofs, broken toilets and infestations of vermin.
Migrants also complained that G4S staff did not take their complaints about housing standards seriously and there were separate concerns raised about possible sexual harassment of refugee women by G4S housing staff.
Sixty two asylum seekers were asked for their views by Migrant Voice.
The report said: "Participants mentioned their accommodation was dirty
"Several participants mentioned that they were not able to keep the place as clean as they would like because they are not allowed a hoover to clean the accommodation; instead some were told to sweep the carpets."
One asylum seeker was quoted as describing their accommodation as having “damp walls, dirty kitchen, tiny box room, dirty, cheap bed, and dirty carpet.”
Another said: “Currently I am experiencing a horde of flies because of dead rats in the kitchen, bed bugs in my room and rats in the house although I keep it clean.”
One disturbing case was reported about a G4S housing officer making women feel uncomfortable.
A woman told Migrant Voice: "I lived in a property where the housing officer had a very inappropriate behaviour.
"He told us residents that if we made trouble (meaning reporting problems or making complaints to G4S helpline without letting him know) he would inform the Home Office.
"He also used to come to my bedroom and close the door which made me feel very uncomfortable.
"He talked to us about his sexual experiences.
“My support worker made a complaint on my behalf about my housing officer’s inappropriate behaviour and I think G4S conducted an investigation and he ceased working in our house but I am not sure what happened.”
The report noted that G4S appeared to have dealt with the issue "as far as the woman knew".
Many asylum seekers asked to be treated as humans and with dignity.
But, four expressed their gratitude for having accommodation.
One said: “Thank you for giving me a house.
“I am very grateful for the Government to make a way for us where there seem to be no way. As a destitute it is very difficult.”
The Home Affairs select committee will make recommendations on what should be done to improve asylum seeker accommodation, and if it should be dispersed more widely across the county, before the Home Office responds.
Earlier this year the Home Office launched an investigation after it emerged several asylum seeker properties run by G4S had been given red doors - something critics said was done to mark them out.
G4S has denied this was a policy of its, but it repainted the doors different colours as a result.
Express.co.uk asked G4S to comment, but it has yet to respond.