BOSSES at Colchester Council claim the government needs to “up its game” and support the city to help tackle homelessness and support refugees.

An open letter has been penned and sent to the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

The letter itself was written by The City of Sanctuary Local Authority Network, a collective which represents 55 councils across the UK.

It discusses the on going challenges faced by local authorities and it asks for the government to help with certain issues at hand. 

The letter asks for the local authorities to be provided with data and funding to enable them to fully support refugees and asylum seekers if they move between different locations. 

It also calls for more communication from the government before any refugee or resettlement schemes are enacted 

Finally, the letter calls for all new arrangements to prevent homelessness to be adequately funded. 

The leader of Colchester Council, David King, commented on the letter and Colchester’s need for better support.

He said: “Managing housing pressure in all its forms is a priority for the council.

“We are committed to playing our part in welcoming and safeguarding the welfare of our communities, including those seeking sanctuary, but the Government needs to up its game to help us help those most in need.

“We need a more coordinated approach, with better communications and data sharing, and earlier notice to help ensure essential support services can be provided. 

“And we need funding that is sufficient to meet the needs of all residents facing homelessness, at a time when we as a council are already facing a significant budget deficit. 

“We urge the government to work with us and other local authorities to address these challenges."

Since 2014, Colchester Council has taken part in numerous schemes to help refugees throughout the world. Some examples include: the Homes for Ukraine scheme, the Afghan relocation and assistance policy, and the Hong Kong British Nationals scheme.

If you would like to read the open letter, you can do so via the link