Walthamstow asylum seekers eviction: ‘We don’t know where we’re being sent’ - hundreds kicked out of hotel

"They didn’t tell us if we would be staying in this city, if we would be going to another hotel, to a shared house or going out of London."
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Hundreds of asylum seekers are being abruptly evicted from a hotel in north-east London where some have lived for years.

The Home Office has housed up to 400 people, including families, at the hotel in Walthamstow while their asylum claims are processed, some since 2022.

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But on Thursday January 18, residents received letters from the government’s asylum seekers’ housing contractor Clearsprings Ready Homes saying their rooms would “no longer be available” from Friday January 26.

Clearsprings said it would find “suitable alternative” housing within the Home Office-funded “initial accommodation estate” - usually hostels or hotels

But many asylum seekers were still unsure where they were being sent to the night before their eviction.

Members of the wider community gathered outside the hotel on Thursday evening (January 25) to show solidarity for the evicted residents. 

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Nadia*, a 25-year-old mother from Iran, said she still didn’t know where her and her husband and two-year-old daughter were being sent.

Protest outside hotel in Walthamstow where asylum seekers face evictionProtest outside hotel in Walthamstow where asylum seekers face eviction
Protest outside hotel in Walthamstow where asylum seekers face eviction

“We were given the notice last Thursday that we had to leave. They didn’t tell us if we would be staying in this city, if we would be going to another hotel, to a shared house or going out of London,” she tearfully told LondonWorld.

She said she was studying for her GCSEs in English and maths and had been living in the hotel for a year.

“We've been settled here, we've found friends," she said. "We had been going to college. We’ve been going to a local church.”

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Neda, a 30-year-old mother from Pakistan, had been living in the hotel for four months with her husband and four-year-old daughter. She has been told that they are being sent to another hotel in Newham.

“I’m already very stressed out, facing mental health issues. I’m moving to another country and again I am being moved to another hotel,” she told LondonWorld.

“Some people really don’t know where they’re going. We don’t have time to even protest against this. If we don’t accept where we’re offered we may become homeless.

“I was a teacher back home but we left Pakistan for religious reasons.”

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A spokesperson for Clearsprings, whose profits doubled to £62.5million in 2021/22, said: “We take the welfare of those we accommodate during their asylum process very seriously."

Protesters gather outside Walthamstow hotelProtesters gather outside Walthamstow hotel
Protesters gather outside Walthamstow hotel

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are making significant progress with moving asylum seekers out of hotels, which cost UK taxpayers £8.2million a day.

“Accommodation is allocated on a no-choice basis and individuals may be moved to other locations in line with the Allocation of Accommodation guidance.

“We work closely with accommodation providers and local authorities to manage the exit process in a way which limits the impact on partners and individuals alike.”

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Waltham Forest Council leader Grace Williams said the uathority was "very disappointed" the asylum seekers were being moved from the area at "just a few days' notice".

"This is despite communication we received from the Home Office that hotels would not close until April," she said.

"The news has understandably caused a huge amount of hassle and stress for vulnerable people who need our help."

She added: "We consider them to be Waltham Forest residents who must be treated with compassion and respect."

Cllr Williams said the short time-frame made "decent planning and support virtually impossible".

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the asylum seeker.

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