Council calls on government for support to help house refugees this Christmas

Published: Wednesday, 29th November 2023

Homeless support services in Birmingham City Council are under increased pressure as the Government focuses on clearing its asylum backlog.

The Home office have estimated that 1,000 refugees in Birmingham will leave Home Office supported accommodation between August 1 and December 31.

The volume is "unprecedented" and typically represents what the council would expect to deal with over three years or more.

Birmingham City Council will be writing to Government calling for:

  • urgent funding to put in place additional support,
  • ensuring refugees have 28 days’ notice before having to leave Home Office accommodation,
  • more information on number of cases expected to help plan support required.

Councillor Jayne Francis, cabinet member for housing and homelessness, said:

"Birmingham has been welcoming to refugees fleeing from horror and persecution, and as City of Sanctuary since 2015, Birmingham will continue to do all it can.

"But these numbers are unprecedented – equivalent to the number we typically see over three or more years.

“There are more checks to do with the data, but we are seeing a substantial increase in households who need Temporary Accommodation in Birmingham as a result.

"The Government's decision to increase volumes of decisions to this level came without due notice and planning to reduce risks.

“We are writing to Government to reiterate the calls made by the Local Government Association and other councils to provide increased funding and support.

"Housing and homelessness support services will be under enormous strain during what is already a difficult time due to the cost of living crisis.

"The increased volume of asylum decisions will undermine the progress we have made with our homeless support services.

“The situation also means that the refugees themselves are also under enormous pressure, as they have reduced time to be able to open a bank account and find accommodation.

"This did not have to happen. We are happy to work with the Home Office to deal with the issue in a planned and structured way if they provide us with the resources."

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