Asylum seekers moved from Manchester as far as Liverpool and Wigan into 'unsuitable accommodation'
- Long-term illnesses and individual circumstances 'ignored'
- 26 families have been moved by Serco
- Furniture, prams and toys have been left outside bins
Female asylum seekers with children and long-term illnesses are being relocated with short notice as far away as Liverpool and placed in ‘unliveable’ conditions, it is claimed.
Twenty-six women refugees with health and long-term illnesses have been moved by Serco, along with their children.
Many claim they were only given two to three days notice to pack, not knowing where they were going to be rehoused.
Serco says it provides 'decent accommodation' to all asylum seekers under contract with the government and that in this case the properties had to be handed back to the landlord.
Sarah, 24, from Rwanda, has concerns about her son’s welfare and said moving at such short notice could have a detrimental effect on his health, causing her a great deal of stress and anxiety.
She said: “It’s very stressful not to know what is next for your child.”
She said her son had to face the additional stress of attending a new school and having to make new friends.
Nimimi, 35, from Eritrea, has a back problem and said she will have to share accommodation with 15 other women.
Her daughter has a medical problem with her legs but has to walk up the stairs to get to her room, which is very difficult for her to do.
Nimimi said: “I told them don’t give stairs, but they are giving me like 26 stairs.”
The women had to pack in a hurry, leaving many of their possessions behind. Many had to leave personal belongings behind in the rush to move.
The bins outside the property were full of items thrown away as the removal vans could only take so much luggage per person.
Jenni Halliday, Serco contract director, said: “Serco currently looks after several thousand asylum seekers housed in over 3,000 properties across the North West.
"We provide them with decent accommodation that meets the necessary housing and Home Office standards while their claim for asylum in the UK is adjudicated upon by the government.
“It is not uncommon for us to hand properties back to the landlords for a variety of reasons, which happened in this case and therefore the people who were accommodated in it had to be moved.
"This is not a simple undertaking and we have worked hard to find suitable alternative accommodation from the housing available to us in the North West region that meets their needs.”
Samra, from the charity Near Neighbours, said: “It is unusual for asylum seekers to leave their personal belongings behind."
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham raised concerns writing to the Home Secretary Sajid Javid warning the system of housing asylum seekers was a "catastrophic failure" over the "disproportionate" number of asylum seekers that have been housed in Greater Manchester.
The Mayor described the situation as "mounting chaos" in Greater Manchester. The Home Office responded by promising to reivew how asylum seekers are housed in the region and throughout the country. They also pledged to improve their living conditions as that was also brought to the Home Secretary's attention by the Mayor.