Refugee Council calls for urgent rethink as thousands of families face homelessness - Refugee Council
April 29, 2004

Refugee Council calls for urgent rethink as thousands of families face homelessness

The Refugee Council today issues an urgent call to the government to put in place transitional arrangements for asylum seekers being made homeless this weekend as a result of the accession of 10 new countries into the European Union.

On Saturday 1 May over 2,500 asylum seekers and their families will be forced to leave their National Asylum Support Service (NASS) accommodation as their home countries become members of the EU.

The families, all from EU accession countries, are being told to find their own accommodation and work to support themselves. As asylum seekers, none have been allowed to work up until this date and they have not been given any practical support in making the transition. Consequently, many families including those with young children will find themselves homeless and without support on a bank holiday weekend.

Maeve Sherlock, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:

“There is a crisis brewing which is wholly avoidable.

“It is totally unrealistic to expect asylum seekers to find work and housing overnight, not to mention trying to do this on a bank holiday.

“Would it really hurt to let these families stay in their homes for a few more weeks while the adults find a job?”

Ends

Notes to editors

Get a Refugee Council briefing on asylum seekers and the new EU accession countries

The Refugee Council has published a leaflet for asylum seekers affected by EU accession.

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