Housing association defends G4S asylum contract
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities
Housing association defends G4S contract after charity attack
A housing association has hit back at claims made by an asylum group that its reputation is at risk after being awarded a contract by under fire security firm G4S.
Target Housing Association came under attack by South Yorkshire Migration & Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) earlier this week who said it was "offering a fig leaf to G4S to cover up the fact that the firm has no experience in managing housing".
It also claimed the housing provider's "respected" reputation was now at risk after taking on the alleged £2.5m contract.
G4S was one of three firms named in March to take on the UK Border Agency’s asylum seeker accommodation contracts.
However, critics fear that awarding a security firm a contract to provide housing for asylum seekers is effectively criminalising vulnerable and innocent people.
It didn't help matters that in June the firm was criticised after a mother and her baby were moved to a sub-standard flat in Bradford by one of its subcontractors.
Target Housing Association has hit back at the claims made by SYMAAG adding that it still answers to the remit set by the UK Border Agency.
Gino Toro, CEO of Target, also denied the contract was worth as much as £2.5m.
He said: "They have also claimed that we were selected to replace United Property Management (UPM) as a housing provider after they were let go by G4S in June. This, again, is untrue. We were selected a year ago. Our appointment has nothing whatsoever to do with UPM."
Mr Toro, a former refugee himself who came to the UK over 30 years ago, has been working on projects to assist asylum seekers since the mid-80s.
"We have been presented by SYMAAG as if our levels of expertise are suddenly inferior now we work under G4S, but we answer to the remit set by the UK Border Agency. Regardless of the merits of the then Government beginning the process of turning asylum housing over to private companies, as it did in the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, the fact is that these services have to be provided."