Local campaign wins urgent repairs for “unlivable” asylum accommodation in Tower Hamlets
- A group of refugees and migrants have won urgent repairs in Tower Hamlets asylum accommodation following their submission of a collective complaint
- The group says that rodent infestations, lack of hot water and heating, and severe mould are common in Clearsprings-run asylum accommodation across Britain
- Private firm Clearsprings has been awarded £996 million in Home Office contracts to deliver “safe, secure and warm” asylum accommodation until 2029
(London—12 December 2022) A group of refugees and migrants have just won urgent repairs in a Clearsprings asylum accommodation unit in Tower Hamlets, following their submission of a collective complaint coordinated by migrants’ rights charity Migrants Organise.
The victory follows the local group’s decision to rally around Tower Hamlets resident Aamir*, a member of Migrants Organise whose mental and physical health was deteriorating rapidly as a result of the cramped, infested conditions in his asylum accommodation.
“The Clearsprings property where Aamir and five others live did not even have a working shower. Aamir and the other residents were unable to use the kitchen due to rodent infestation and electricity issues rendering kitchen appliances—including the refrigerator—dysfunctional. And the entire unit smelled of spoiled food due to old leaks on the carpeting, which was never cleaned or replaced despite residents’ multiple requests for maintenance,” reported Maymuna Osman of Migrants Organise.
Over a two-month period, some of the migrant and refugee members of the group met with other residents of the Tower Hamlets multi-occupancy accommodation to collect a body of evidence documenting numerous breaches of environmental and health standards in Aamir’s accommodation. The group then submitted a complaint on behalf of the residents, outlining collective demands for maintenance and repair.
Today, nearly all of the group’s demanded improvements have been made to Aamir’s accommodation.
Group members say Aamir’s situation is far from unique, and that the Home Office’s outsourcing of asylum accommodation to private firms like Clearsprings begets minimal accountability—and maximal profit. Despite ongoing media and public alarm over unsafe, unhygienic conditions in Clearsprings properties, the Home Office has awarded Clearsprings £996 million in contracts for their provision of “safe, secure and warm” asylum accommodation until 2029.
Reflecting on the success of the collective complaint, one group member said, “This shows that when we organise together, we can build the world we want to live in, brick by brick: a world where we have dignity and justice. But our friends in Tower Hamlets should not have to fight for the bare minimum. We will keep fighting to end this deliberate outsourcing of accountability that keeps us in miserable, inhumane conditions for years on end.”
Notes for Editors:
The housing organising group is primarily comprised of and led by migrants and refugees who receive casework support from Migrants Organise.
Migrants Organise is an award-winning, grassroots platform where migrants connect, build common ground, and organise for dignity and justice for all. The organisation combines direct casework advice and support for individuals affected by the hostile environment immigration policies with community organising, advocacy, research and campaigning to help dismantle structural racism.
*Aamir is a pseudonym used to preserve this person’s safety.
Contact: Maymuna Osman – maymuna [at] migrantsorganise [dot] org