Charitable housing provider criticised after taking '£2.5m' asylum contract with G4S
Published by 24publishing for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Charity housing provider criticised after taking £2.5m asylum contract with G4S
A charitable housing provider in Sheffield has been criticised after taking up a '£2.5 million' asylum housing contract with security firm G4S
Target Housing Association's decision to take the contract has been condemned by asylum groups, which believe that the charity is offering a "fig leaf to G4S to cover up the fact that the firm has no experience in managing housing". They claim that up till now, Target has been a respected provider of housing and services for ex offenders on local council contracts in South Yorkshire, but now its reputation is at risk.
G4S was recently at the centre of an embarrassing shambles after it came up 3,000 staff short for Olympic security duties. The Government was forced to call up soldiers to shoulder the security work, whilst G4S was docked money from its contract.
G4S, which has government contracts to run prisons and court services, recently won government contracts to house asylum seekers in the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, as well as the Midlands and the East of England.
The Commercial and Operational Managers Procuring Asylum Support Services (COMPASS) contracts were awarded by the UK Border Agency, which opened up the responsibility for housing asylum seekers to private companies.
The firm was heavily criticised earlier in the year after a mother and her baby were moved to a sub-standard flat by United Property Management (UPM), which had been contracted by G4S to house asylum seekers in the Bradford area.
The UK Border Agency visited the flat on that occasion and declared it “contractually non-compliant” and “not suitable in its present state for mothers and babies”.
G4S has since dropped UPM.
John Grayson, of South Yorkshire Migration & Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG), said: "Target should pull out of the contract now, we are witnessing the same shambolic state of affairs in asylum housing as we saw in the Olympics contract.
"Target claim to have accomodation for 120 people in family groups in South Yorkshire, yet last week the UKBorder Agency and G4S sent a Sheffield family 100 miles to private rented housing in Stockton on Tees under the new contracts. Asylum families in Barnsley are being told they could be sent to Newcastle – totally tearing up assurances G4S has given to campaigners and politicians over the past months.
"The longer Target stay on the contract the more their reputation will be shredded along with that of G4S".