Tees

North Ormesby asylum seekers concerned about new homes contract

North Ormesby
Image caption Many of those who have received the letters have "established a life" in North Ormesby

Asylum seekers in a town have been told to pack up and be ready to move house, but have not been informed when or where they will be moving to.

Jomast holds the asylum accommodation and support contract for the North East, but this is in the process of being handed to a new provider, Mears.

Mears has sent letters to North Ormesby residents telling them they will not be able to stay in current accommodation.

The group said it was doing everything it could to minimise any disruption.

In January, it was announced that Mears had won a £1bn government contract to provide asylum seeker accommodation and support in Scotland, Northern Ireland, the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber.

The letters told residents they would "be moved to a new address in the coming weeks", and while Mears was "currently sourcing a suitable property in your current area, it might not be possible and you may be moved to another part of the city or region".

Image caption The letter provides a helpline number

Abdal Albashir, deputy of the Sudanese Community Centre in Middlesbrough, said many of the asylum seekers and refugees who had been sent the letters had suffered "horrific experiences" in their home countries and were "upset and confused" by the letters.

He said: "I've been receiving a lot of phone calls and complaints as to the uncertainty.

"They are going to be moved, with the possibility of relocating somewhere else, but it doesn't tell them the date or time or where they are going to go, no-one knows really.

"Some of them have established a life here, they've got friends, families and so on."

John Taylor, from Mears Housing Management, said: "Mears is committed to ensure that all North East service users are housed in accommodation that is safe, habitable and fit for purpose, compliant with the Home Office contract.

"Mears is negotiating with Jomast on how best to achieve this for service users in the properties they supply."

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