Afghans’ long wait for homes set to continue

Hundreds of refugees remain in hote

Monday, 28th March — By Tom Foot

Rachael Robathan

Council leader Rachael Robathan, left, said the authority had been talking to the home office about providing support to “…our Ukraine residents”

HUNDREDS of refugees remain in a Westminster hotel waiting for a move to secure housing months after arriving from Afghanistan.

Almost 600 refugees were put up in temporary “bridging accommodation” after fleeing the Taliban to come to this country last August.

Just one family has so far been settled into a secure home in Westminster, according to a report by the leader of the council.

Councillor Rachael Robathan told the Westminster Scrutiny Commission: “Approximately 260 Afghan evacuees have moved from their bridging accommodation in Westminster, with 330 remaining in the hotel.

“There have also been 15 people (four families) moved out into settled accommodation since last week, and another 13 (three families) with offers awaiting move in the coming weeks, including a second family to be housed in Westminster after one family was successfully housed in January.”

Afghan refugees have previously told Extra that, while they are grateful to be in the United Kingdom, being stuck in hotels has added to the psychological burden of their experience, and they miss the freedom that comes with living in a home of their own.

The vast majority of evacuees will be transferred to 15 hotels across the country.

Cllr Robathan’s report said: “The hotel team have been working with leads in the receiving local authorities to discuss the hand-over process and what families can expect when they arrive at their new hotels.

“Information-sharing with young people’s new schools has begun where these are known, and medical records have been transferred.”

She said the city council was in talks with the home office about how the council can provide support to “our Ukraine residents”.

With many refugees arriving from the Ukraine, Benaifer Bhandari from the
charity Hopscotch, said: “All the statutory services will have to repeat their work over the past two months, and making sure that people with high levels of need get the support they need straight away.

“All transitions are difficult, we have to make sure we can support the Afghan refugees in their next stage.

“This will be the same for any groups in need.”

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