London Has 165,000 Homeless People But Afghan Refugees Could Jump to Front of Queue For Homes

© AP Photo / Alastair GrantA volunteer helps an Afghan refugee in London
A volunteer helps an Afghan refugee in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
London has been suffering a housing crisis for the last decade or more with 165,000 people - most of them British citizens - living in temporary accommodation. But an influx of refugees from Afghanistan are all set to go to the front of the queue.
More than 200 families who fled Afghanistan in August after the Taliban took Kabul have requested emergency accommodation in London.
The British government housed the families in empty London hotels as part of the scheme to resettle them after the collapse of the Afghan government.
But they are now set to be offered social housing ahead of Londoners who have been waiting in some cases more than a decade to be rehoused.
Last month, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan funded a move by Islington Council to buy back 80 former council homes, 20 of which were earmarked for Afghan refugees.

Khan, who was re-elected in May, said: “The crisis in Afghanistan was devastating to watch and left many of us questioning what we could do to help. To see our city providing a home for those who have been dispossessed, giving security and safety to those who have lost so much, makes me proud to be a Londoner”.

© AP Photo / Dominic LipinskiRefugees from Afghanistan arriving in London in August 2021
Refugees from Afghanistan arriving in London in August 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 20.10.2021
Refugees from Afghanistan arriving in London in August 2021
But the decision to put Afghans, who mostly have no ties at all to London, ahead of British families has enraged many on social media and is expected to be an open goal for Conservative candidates in next May’s local elections in London.
The Home Office put the families in the hotels as part of a resettlement scheme, which many Afghans are now quitting.
London Councils, which represents the city's 32 boroughs, has urged the Afghan refugees to stay within the government scheme.
Peymana Assad, a councillor in Harrow who is originally from Afghanistan, said the applications were putting pressure on the council, which had very little housing stock.
Cllr Assad told the BBC: "We have such a large Afghan community already. We understand that we're going to have more cases come to us with more families leaving hotels. We need the Home Office to communicate with Afghan refugees to give them clarity as to how the process is actually going to work. The council needs this too".
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