11 June, 2024 - By Leyla Williams

BBC Feature: Impact of Asylum Hotels on Children

Our asylum-seeking mums and Deputy Director Leyla Williams spoke to BBC News about the impact on children of living long-term on asylum hotels.

A recent BBC freedom of information request has showed that 3,045 asylum-seeking children live in London asylum hotels, concentrated in West London. They’re crammed into tiny rooms with their families, many for more than two years.

We work with a number of these families at West London Welcome. The BBC approached us to work with them on a piece exploring the impact on children of living long-term in asylum hotels, and two families opted to tell their reporter their stories anonymously alongside Deputy Director Leyla Williams.

As the clips from the BBC feature demonstrate, the toll on children living in tiny hotel rooms for at least two years while waiting on their asylum claim decisions, on only £8.86 per week and three innutritious meals a day while their parents are banned from working or receiving benefits, is huge. Most families we support arrive in London with hope for a safe future, only to experience a sharp decline in their physcial and mental health while living in these hotels. All should be granted the right to work whole waiting for asylum decisions – one of the mums who spoke to the BBC was a skilled dentist and would be happy to fill gaps in the NHS’s chronic dentist shortage.

We are also aware that asylum support and housing subcontractors of the Home Office, such as Clearsprings in London and the South East, makes considerable money in profits and should be able to house people in safer conditions. Asylum-seeking people should be housed in proper housing within communities, not in innappropriate hotels which force people to live on such little money, a poor diet, have little freedom, and are expensive to run.

The full BBC report can be read here.