New Scots refugee integration strategy 2018 to 2022: engagement analysis

Analysis of engagement which informed the development of Scotland’s second New Scots refugee integration strategy.

Chapter 5 Housing

The majority of responses raised points about the housing of refugees and asylum seekers, including:

  • Adequate housing supply
  • Housing maintenance and communication
  • Location of housing
  • Preparing host communities
  • Quality and appropriateness of housing.

Each of these points is explored in more detail below.

5.1 Adequate housing supply

Some responses included comments about the current housing stock for refugees and asylum seekers:

  • It was felt that the current accommodation supply for asylum seekers is insufficient
  • It was suggested that accommodation for asylum seekers should be provided more quickly
  • Responses suggested a number of ways of increasing the housing supply for both refugees and asylum seekers – ranging from using empty properties to a stronger involvement of the private rental sector.

5.2 Communication with housing providers

Some responses covered points about communication with housing providers:

  • Responses recalled that some asylum seekers have had positive experiences with their housing officer who was responsive and helped them in dealing with maintenance issues
  • Other responses, however, highlighted that some refugees and asylum seekers don't know who to approach if they experience problems with their housing and so they find it difficult to get problems with their housing resolved.
  • Responses indicated that refugees and asylum seekers would like to have more information about their housing rights and entitlements.

5.3 Location of housing

Many responses made comments about where refugees and asylum seekers are housed:

  • Responses noted that many asylum seekers are housed far away from the city centre. As a result, asylum seekers may struggle to get access to resources ( e.g. halal food), facilities ( e.g. places of worship) and services ( e.g. both statutory and third sector services) that are essential for their integration process. Being accommodated far away from the city centre was regarded as particularly problematic given that asylum seekers' weekly allowance of £37.75 is insufficient to afford local transport – a point covered in more detail in Chapter 11.
  • This was paired with a perception that asylum seekers are often housed in deprived communities in Glasgow. Considering the host communities' own levels of high deprivation, it was felt that they would be more likely to be hostile towards asylum seekers. Responses recalled incidences of asylum seekers having been exposed to drug use, crime and burglaries in their local areas. In this context, the importance for asylum seekers to be housed in "safe and secure accommodation" was highlighted. The importance of feeling safe in their neighbourhood was raised by two women-only groups at different consultation events.
  • Considering all the points above, responses also indicated that refugees and asylum seekers would like to have a choice of where to live.
  • It was also highlighted that refugees and asylum seekers should be accommodated in mixed communities to prevent ghettoization.

5.4 Preparing host communities and neighbourhoods

Some responses emphasised the need to better prepare the host communities ( i.e. the neighbourhoods in which refugees and asylum seekers will be housed), for the arrival of refugees and asylum seekers. It was felt that raising awareness of refugees' and asylum seekers' difficult circumstances, and the reasons why they had to leave their home countries, has the potential to make the host communities more accommodating and welcoming towards refugees and asylum seekers – a point further explored in Chapter 9. In this vein, one response highlighted the need to "address the impression that asylum seekers and refugees get better provision, e.g. housing, than local communities".

5.5 Quality and appropriateness of housing

Many responses made comments about the quality and appropriateness of housing for refugees and asylum seekers:

  • Responses raised concerns about the standards of housing for refugees and asylum seekers, and emphasised the importance of accommodating them in good quality housing.
  • There was a particular concern about the lack of adequate housing for large families, who often end up being accommodated in housing too small for their families. They then have to wait a long time for suitable accommodation.
  • It was suggested that refugee families should be provided with basic furniture when they move into permanent accommodation.
  • Responses felt that it can be inappropriate for asylum seekers to be in shared accommodation, given that asylum seekers often come from different backgrounds and cultures. A specific example was that it can be difficult for LGBTI asylum seekers to be housed with another asylum seeker who may be homophobic. It was suggested that the specific needs of different asylum seekers should be taken into account in the provision of housing.


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