Monday, 5 December 2016

Everone deserves decent housing conditions including Asylum seekers.

Yesterdays Sunday Politics covered the   The sub-standard condition of some housing for asylum seekers in Wales which the Welsh Refugee council  described as is "an accident waiting to happen", 
Problems seen by BBC Wales include broken fire alarms, leaking plumbing, damp, and broken electrical sockets.
Clearsprings Ready Homes which provides all asylum accommodation in Wales declined to comment.
The Home Office said it was committed to providing safe, secure housing.
According to the latest statistics, there are 2,495 people in Wales currently seeking asylum.
While their claims are being processed, they are not allowed to work but can receive somewhere to live.
Sohail Ahmed, 25, who fled Pakistan in 2012, has been seeking asylum in the UK since June and has been housed in Cardiff for the past two months.
BBC Wales' Sunday Politics programme visited where he lives and saw issues including a defective mains powered fire alarm, a window that did not close properly, damp carpets, a leaking kitchen sink and bath and broken furniture.
Mr Ahmed said:
 "When I came here and then see all this situation, I call them [Clearsprings Ready Homes] many times, they are making promises but since that time nothing has happened.
"At the end of the day we are still human. I'm standing here not only for myself.
"I do believe that if I'm suffering hard from these things, there are many thousands of people who are suffering from these things."
Clearsprings Ready Homes has a £119m contract with the UK government to provide all asylum accommodation in Wales.
It is due to expire next year but the Home Office is considering an extension.
The company was criticised earlier this year over concerns about a policy which required people at its Lynx House centre in Cardiff to wear wristbands to allow them to get food.

Plaid AM Bethan Jenkins, who is a member of the assembly's equality, local government and communities committee, which is conducting an inquiry into refugees and asylum seekers, said she was aware of the issues.
"There are other families across Swansea, some of whom I've visited, who are experiencing the same things,"
"They're coming into houses that are very old, very damp, with numerous problems and really they should be fit for purpose before the asylum seekers are housed here.
"
Clearsprings Ready Homes declined to comment but in a response to inquiries made by Ms Jenkins, the firm acknowledged that 


"clearly there is an issue that needs urgent investigation".

There will be those who will argue that there are many Welsh people living in similar conditions .

Indeed we often see arguments that we cannot look after our own 

But of course we can , what we lack is the will to do so.

If UK citizens are living in the same conditions as Asylum seekers , then it time we sorted both out ,

It is   years since Ken Loachs  play about homelessness Cathy Come Home was first aired on the BBC

By coincidence, another charity for the homeless, Shelter, was launched a few days after the first broadcast. Though it was not connected to the programme, "the film alerted the public, the media, and the government to the scale of the housing crisis, and Shelter gained many new supporters.

And yet we still have families living in hostels and the same condition as the Asylum seekers highlighted yesterday on the Sunday Politics.

Only last week came the news that in Birmingham a homeless man found dead in the city centre on the coldest night of the year.

There was a huge outpouring of emotion after the man's body was discovered in John Bright Street late on Tuesday night.

He was believed to have been aged just 30.


It is however important to realise that the case of the Swansea Asylum seekers is an example of the state of the UK today in how it treats the dispossessed including our own citizens.

They should not be separated, especially by those who constantly vote for politicians who have done little to help those who are homeless or living in overcrowded or sub standard housing.

Making sure everyone lives in decent conditions should be our aim,regardless of their origin or circumstances.


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