28 March 2023
British Red Cross responds to government announcement on relocating Afghans
Responding to the government’s announcement of new funding to relocate more than 8,000 Afghans who are currently living in hotels in the UK, Alex Fraser, the British Red Cross’s UK director for refugee support and restoring family links, said:
“Our concern is that the pace of this proposal will add pressure on already overstretched local authorities and that many families could be left without accommodation after three months.
“Making sure people can have a say in any plans that will impact them directly will be critical in the coming weeks and months.
“We know from our work supporting men, women and children who having arrived in need of protection, given the trauma they will have experienced, that being housed in hotels for a long period can have a devastating impact on physical and mental health.
“Many people affected by this will remain separated from loved ones but may have become settled in their new communities and the process of relocating them needs to be done sensitively.
“We want families to feel supported as they move into their own homes and to make sure they are not moved far away, especially where they have found work and their children are already in school.”
Often trust will have been established with third sector and community organisations and families who have been living in hotels – it will be vital for those organisations to be involved in explaining what support is there and how to access it.