Y People brings destitution into sharper focus

A destitute man c.Kuzma/ iStock
Many people seeking asylum in the UK are left destitute

Scottish Refugee Council is stepping up its call for the UK Government to urgently address the issue of destitution facing asylum seekers across the city.

The situation has been placed into sharp focus as up to 100 refused asylum seekers have been issued with letters informing them they will be evicted from their Y People accommodation.

The charity, which has no statutory obligation to house asylum seekers after their claim has been refused, has lost its contract to provide housing to asylum seekers in the city.

‘Desperate situation’

This month it will enter into a transition period to move accommodation to Serco, who won the contract with the Home office in a UK-wide bidding process.

John Wilkes, Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The desperate situation of some 100 people who have been refused asylum who face eviction from their Y-People accommodation unfortunately does not come as a surprise.

“The reality is that there are already well over 100 refused asylum seekers living in Glasgow find themselves destitute currently forced into a twilight existence where they are entitled to neither support or accommodation and yet cannot work. They face daily struggle for survival. 

In the public debate, asylum seekers whose claims are refused are often perceived as having somehow abused the system. Yet, many would have qualified for some form of protection had they applied for asylum in another country or had they applied in the UK in the past. 

“The majority of people who are forced into destitution by the UK Government are from just a few countries, including Iraq, Iran, Zimbabwe and Somalia, counties to which they could not have safely or logistically have been returned when their claim for protection had been turned down.

“While we, along with many other support agencies across the city, are putting in place emergency measures – in our case additional surgeries with the British Red Cross for those who are destitute – this will not stop the continued flow of those who find themselves destitute in our city and across the UK.

“We need a UK asylum system that offers proper protection to those who need it rather than inhumanely forcing people into limbo.” 

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