Hotels have already begun to close to Afghan households across the country and - as we feared - councils are already seeing families presenting to them as homeless as a result.
Cllr Shaun Davies, Chair of the Local Government Association, said:
“Councils share the Government’s determination to get Afghan families out of hotels and into permanent homes. Hotels have already begun to close to Afghan households across the country and - as we feared - councils are already seeing families presenting to them as homeless as a result.
“It is wrong that some families are having to leave Home Office-funded hotels only to then end up having to move into temporary accommodation. With record numbers of households already living in temporary accommodation and an acute shortage of housing across the country, this is adding huge pressure onto councils on the ground and disruption and distress for families, some of whom are particularly vulnerable.
“This situation is likely to worsen significantly as the Home Office stops paying for the remaining bridging hotels for Afghan families in the coming days and weeks, apart from the very small number that can stay in interim hotels for medical reasons or those that are rematched by councils to properties before December 31.
“We are pleased at the willingness of the Government to work closely with the LGA and councils on these issues but it is clear we have more to do to ensure a smooth transition for Afghan families which doesn’t simply pass costs and responsibility from government to councils.
“We would like to work with councils and government to look at greater flexibilities around hotel move on given the pace and scale of the challenge. Government should pay to keep hotel places open for those struggling to find accommodation. This is likely to include large families or families that will be matched with properties that, due to government funding arrangements, will only available after the closure of interim hotels in December. Councils would also like to see access to Ministry of Defence accommodation widened to all those in hotels.
“Hotels should also not be closed just to switch to becoming hotels for other new arrivals, so councils can continue to focus on finding Afghan families homes and schools. Councils are also concerned about the wellbeing and health risks of the current ‘room only’ basis for families that are moving to interim hotels.
“Ongoing joint working and shared data across central and local government on this, and the other asks across asylum and resettlement, is also crucial so we can tackle emerging issues as they arise, find joint solutions and reduce homelessness risks.”
Notes to the editor