The Home Office has confirmed that all evictions and terminations of asylum support have been paused for three months.
This is hugely welcome news and a relief at this time of great uncertainty. Read the full letter from the Home Office to the sector confirming this development.
However, we still need to know immediately what Covid-19 means for those who are currently destitute. Over the weekend we wrote again to the Prime Minister, alongside our colleagues across the UK, following up on our joint letter last week.
RE: PMQ commitment for Home Office funding for those who are seeking asylum, have had their asylum claims refused or who are prohibited from accessing public funds
Dear Prime Minister,
Following our letter dated 19th March with recommendations signed by over 80 organisations supporting people who are homeless and destitute because of their migration status, we write again to welcome your commitment at PMQs yesterday (25th March 2020) stating that;
People seeking asylum, those whose asylum claims have been refused and all who have been prohibited from having access to public funds by Home Office rules “will certainly receive the Home Office funding that they need and deserve”
It is now imperative that those who are homeless and destitute stemming from insecure immigration status, including those with No Recourse to Public Funds, as well as those seeking to access or who have been refused asylum are able to urgently access publicly funded accommodation and support.
This will not only help vulnerable homeless and destitute individuals to be safe and hence be able to comply with your instructions on safe social distancing and self-isolation, but it will also significantly lessen the risk of their exposure to the virus and therefore its onward transmission.
Many people who are homeless and destitute in the UK have underlying health conditions, such as respiratory issues, which make them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. Contracting the virus will result in severe illnesses needing intensive care treatment, and for some it will result in death. Therefore, your commitment to act must now be implemented without delay. Acting now will help prevent further pressure on the NHS, and it will also save lives.
NACCOM and our partners appreciate the tone and substance of your statement at PMQs. We stand ready to work together with your Government, the devolved Governments and Local Authority partners, to ensure that all those homeless and destitute with insecure immigration status can be accommodated in the following days and weeks.
In making sure our shared public health fight against Covid-19 encompasses all vulnerable groups, irrespective of immigration status, we can give ourselves the best chance to suppress and ultimately overcome this unprecedented global pandemic, here in the UK.
We look forward to hearing from you. Most of all, however, we want to work with you to urgently deliver on this commitment.
Sabir Zazai, CEO, Scottish Refugee Council and other signatories.HousingIn the newsPolicy