Afghan refugees who arrived in Yorkshire last summer still living in hotels

Afghan refugees who arrived in Yorkshire last summer are still living in hotels waiting to be rehomed, a council leader has revealed.

Wakefield Council's Denise Jeffery admitted some of the families who came to the city after fleeing the Taliban are yet to be offered a permanent home seven months on from their arrival.

The news comes as the district prepares to help UK-bound refugees escaping the war in Ukraine.

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A serious shortage of homes has been blamed on the issue. The council has been asked exactly how many Afghan refugees are still waiting for permanent accommodation.

Afghan refugees taken in by Wakefield Council are still living in hotels, the council leader has said.

Last September it was reported that five families had been giving permanent accommodation shortly after arriving in Wakefield, though at that point more were still waiting in hotels.

Coun Jeffery spoke about the issue on an online Q&A session on Monday (Mar 21), after being asked about the council’s response to the Ukraine crisis.

She said: “We had the situation (last year) with Afghanistan. The situation there is the refugees who came from Afghanistan haven’t been rehoused yet. They’re all in temporary accommodation in hotels.

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“If we bring a lot of people from Ukraine, we’re hoping people will take them into their homes because it’s difficult to find them some accommodation. We haven’t got an influx of empty houses waiting for people to come.”

Coun Jeffery said that Wakefield District Housing (WDH), the local social housing supplier, had a “waiting list of thousands” and that councils across the country were facing similar problems.

She was also critical of the government’s handling of the situation, with individual refugees needing to be sponsored by people willing to offer them a bed before they can arrive here.

Coun Jeffery added: “It’s a very difficult situation. It’s not made easier that people have to have a named person to sponsor them. If you’re fleeing a country, you’re not going to sit down on your laptop, hoping someone’s picked you up.

“There must be a better way. We’re hoping there’ll be some government legislation coming out over the next week to make it easier for us.”