Initial accommodation refers to housing that is provided to asylum seekers when they first arrive if they don’t have the means to provide their own. These are often referred to as “asylum hotels.”
Dispersed accommodation is housing that is provided to asylum seekers after their stay in initial accommodation, and is intended to serve as a longer-term provision while someone’s claim is still being processed.
The Home Office contracts a number of private companies to carry out housing provision for asylum seekers nationally. In the North East, housing is provided by Mears.
When someone first moves into either their initial or dispersed accommodation, they should receive welcome packs and an induction by their housing provider.
The four welcome packs below are contractually required to be provided. They are also available in a number of languages. The Stockton-on-Tees local welcome pack is not required to be provided, and is currently only available in English.
Hotel Contingency Service User Induction Handbook
Service User Handbook: Welcome to Dispersal Accommodation
A Home Office Guide to Living in Asylum Accommodation
A Home Office Guide to Rights and Expectations in the UK
Below are some guides produced by Asylum Matters that provide information about the Asylum Accommodation and Support Contracts which set out Mears’ obligations to maintain the housing they provide to certain standards.
Once someone has received a positive decision on their asylum claim, they are given 28 days to secure their own housing, independent of Home Office support. During this time frame, people are at an increased risk of destitution.
If you are currently living in Mears accommodation within the borough of Stockton-on-Tees, please contact the Council’s Homelessness Team as quickly as possible. You can do this by telephone at 01642 528389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org providing your name, address and a contact telephone number. You can find out more on the Council’s website: Homelessness – Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
If you are a refugee and need help with housing, you can also get support from North East RISE.