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Afghan refugees are told by the Home Office to look for a new home on Right Move or Zoopla

August 2022: The Home Office is advising Afghan refugees in the UK to seek their own housing alternatives to the hotels provided over the last year.

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Refugees advised to look at privately renting

Last year, thousands of Afghan refugees fled to the UK for safety from the Taliban. This week, however, many of them have been advised by the Home Office to seek alternative housing by looking for properties to stay in via private housing companies such as Right Move and Zoopla.

Since the refugees arrived a year ago, the government has been funding hotel accommodation for approximately 9,500 Afghan nationals. 7,000 of these have since been rehoused.

The government has since put plans into place to wind down the use of hotel accommodation but may fear that the remaining refugees may struggle to find appropriate accommodation.

Refugees at risk of homelessness

It is feared that many of the Afghan nationals seeking refuge in the UK may be at risk of becoming homeless due to the high demand for rented properties and the rising cost of living.

Many families with young children are struggling to find accommodation big enough to suit their needs in the UK. It is also a concern that the refugees may not have the correct English language skills to negotiate a rent agreement with a landlord, or perhaps the correct identity documents.

It has been said that the Home Office is actively encouraging these families to investigate their own accommodation, as they will only be providing an additional two months’ worth of hotel accommodation.

Concerns over plans

Director of Gender Action for Peace and Security, Eva Tabbasam, has said:

“Afghan families couldn’t have imagined that one year after arriving they’d still be warehoused in unsuitable accommodation, without space, privacy, and stability. There is also a serious risk of homelessness for these families if suitable accommodation is not offered under the current Home Office plans. The government has had a year to sort things out – instead, it’s getting worse. If suitable accommodation was readily available for the 9,500 people still in hotels, families would already have been moved into it. We don’t yet know what kind of move-on accommodation families will be offered.”

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