Far from a Home tells the story of what life is like in asylum support accommodation, particularly contingency accommodation such as hotels, hostels and military barracks, and why addressing this issue should be a priority in the upcoming reform of the asylum system. The powerful foreword for the report has been contributed by VOICES and the report itself has been extensively shaped by VOICES Ambassadors’ expert advice and one to one interviews with Ambassadors in the London network. We are so grateful for your time and expertise and we’re looking forward to working with you all to advocate for reform of asylum support.

The report finds that too many asylum-seeking women, men and children in the UK are living in unsafe, unsanitary and isolated accommodation falling far short of expected standards, for months and even years at a time. These issues have been compounded by mounting backlogs in asylum application decisions in recent years, the failure to secure enough community dispersal accommodation and more recently, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Far from addressing these issues, the UK Government’s New Plan for Immigration includes plans to house many people seeking asylum in reception centres. As we have witnessed in the ongoing use of ex-military barracks, institutional-style accommodation can have significant negative impacts on people’s mental and physical health, as well as isolating people seeking asylum from wider communities, ultimately reducing social integration and cohesion.   

The report makes the case that a more compassionate and effective asylum system would give people accommodation within communities where they can make connections, access essential services and better engage with the asylum process. 

You can access the report on the Red Cross website here