Driscoll House, manged by Clearsprings Ready Homes, houses refugees in awful conditions (Photo: Stephen Craven)

“Tomorrow anything could happen to me, maybe I’ll get sent back, or maybe I’ll die.

“It’s really difficult. People get sick thinking too much about what’s going to happen to them.

“And an £8 a week allowance is nothing. There’s not many words to describe this situation.”

“It’s not good for people. We don’t need five-star housing, but we need to feel like we’re human. We don’t feel like that here.”

Ibrahim lives at Driscoll House in south London. It has roughly 100 rooms for around 400 refugees.

“They should close it,” Ibrahim told Socialist Worker. “Water drips down onto your head from the ceilings. Even when the building has been cleaned, it still feels dirty.

“There’s only two washing machines. And you can hear rats

too. We’re not animals, we shouldn’t have to live like that.”

Ibrahim says the house is “old and run down”. “There’s cracks and holes in the walls, and they try to cover them but it’s not good enough.

“We also can only eat until 5pm… Sometimes we get old fruit or food that’s mouldy.”

Most of the refugees sleep on metal frame bunk beds, with thin mattresses.

“We get told that where we come from we’d never get anything like this,” Ibrahim added. “The staff say we should be grateful.

“It makes me laugh because none of them understand my position, or would live in my situation.”

Staff are supposed to leave toiletries in the accommodation, so anyone can take what they need.

“But they only do this when someone important like the Home Office or organisations come,” Ibrahim said. “Otherwise the stuff we need isn’t there.”

The house has one medical room and for most people rooms and facilities are shared. Each floor has a toilet and shower, and around 20 rooms.

“People are not happy, they’re disappointed. They’ve already come from a bad situation,” Ibrahim explained.

“Now they have to deal with sharing a room, bad food and accommodation that was built a long time ago.”

Ibrahim thinks that refugees are kept there because it’s cheap. “People still have some hope when they come here to study or work and be active,” he added.

“Then after all that they could be refused or transferred to Rwanda. I don’t understand why. They should be given a chance.”

“We wait for months for documents, and even cards and ID. It feels like we’re always waiting—we’re patient but it’s annoying.

“It’s not a good feeling. People are also scared to speak out. I never think about tomorrow. I live for the day, I have no choice.

Driscoll House has seen two protests against removals to the Bibby Stockholm in Dorset. Ibrahim said the barge would be “a prison”.

“And Rwanda is just so dangerous, it’s not fair. Where is the humanity? It’s all about the media attention for the government.

“When people go to the immigration centre in Croydon they get scared that they’re not going to come back. But if they don’t go, they could lose their asylum claim.

“Where I live some people have started to run away because they don’t feel safe. We don’t know where they go—and no one in charge cares.”

Ibrahim is a pseudonym. Join Stand Up To Racism’s national protest in London on Saturday 29 June against the Rwanda deportation scheme go to standuptoracism.org.uk for more details


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