While carrying out fieldwork for the National Audit Office’s recent report on the Home Office’s contracts for asylum accommodation and support, I saw first-hand how vitally important services are for asylum seekers who might otherwise face destitution.
Around 48,000 people currently get support from the Home Office and its contractors, under the UK’s international obligation to help asylum seekers. It is a complex challenge.
My team and I met families with children, couples and single people, people with physical and mental health issues, from many different countries speaking many languages. They were living in hostel blocks, in hotel rooms, in flats above shops and in houses ranging from inner-city terraces to post-war estates.