Liverpool overrun by refugees sleeping rough
Liverpool is facing an enormous influx of refugees with many of them forced to sleep rough - and in some cases, right outside local residents' houses.
A government initiative to urgently clear a huge backlog of asylum seekers at processing centres has led to a sudden rise in the number of people looking for places to live, without the infrastructure ready to handle them. The refugees themselves have been given little time to prepare, leading to many lacking jobs or any form of security.
A group of doctors in the city have even written an open letter warning there was a “significant risk of death” for those forced to sleep on the streets during winter. One asylum seeker speaking to Sky News, Hassan, said “this country is no good for asylum”, after he fled Iraq last year.
Hassan’s asylum application was rejected on a technicality. He is able to reapply, but lacks a phone or address.
The influx of refugees is also affecting local residents . One approached the broadcaster as they spoke to Hassan, it reported, and said: “We don't want this around here. You've got all the neighbours worried. Imagine this is your house and your kids are playing in the garden, and you've got him camping here.”
Liverpool City Council have placed the blame on the government’s efforts to accelerate refugee processing before the end of the year, adding it was now dealing with an “unprecedented homelessness problem”.
Following a change of Home Office policy, newly recognised refugees who had been awarded the right to stay in the UK, were, in some cases, given just seven days to leave their asylum accommodation and find a place to live. This is a reduction from the usual 28-day notice period - which many charities had already warned was not long enough.
Around £6million a year has been spent housing asylum seekers in hotels and hostels while claims are processed.
Liverpool city council told Sky News that it currently spends around £11million per year on asylum seekers and refugees in the region.
There are 1.2 million people waiting for social housing nationwide, according to the charity Shelter.