Housing and Benefits for Asylum Seekers in UK

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Of all the individuals or groups treated harshly by society, refugees and asylum seekers are often amongst the most disadvantaged and marginalised. Excluded from their homelands, often under the most traumatic and disabling circumstances, they are frequently forced to seek shelter in countries with indigenous populations with whom they share little in common.


Housing is at the very cornerstone of reception and resettlement (BRC 1987, 96-99; Carey-Wood etal. 1995, 66-72; Majke 1991, 267- 283; Refugee Council 1997; Robinson 1993, 170-186) and controlling access to housing has become an increasingly important part of the government's asylum and immigration strategy. Without adequate shelter, few other opportunities exist for those unfortunate enough to be destitute. With no permanent address, there is little chance of establishing the minimum rights of citizenship, which offer inclusion into the host society.
Social exclusion has been a reality for many thousands of asylum seekers over a prolonged period of time. This was true even before the more draconian measures introduced in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The prevailing environment of competition, performance review and value for money has had the effect of increasingly marginalising the most vulnerable groups in British society. In all but a few notable exceptions, the needs of asylum seekers have been inadequately addressed by either public or private sectors (Zetter and Pearl 1999a, 24-27). This has been due to a combination of institutional inertia and political sensitivity - both cock-up and conspiracy. ...
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