Homeless Migrants at Risk of Being Pushed Back Into Destitution During Covid-19
Authorities and campaigners are calling upon the Home Office to ensure that state support restrictions do not undermine efforts to end rough sleeping in Britain during lockdown.
Since March, over 15,000 rough sleepers across the UK have been housed in temporary accommodation such as hotels and emergency shelter. This came as a result of the Everyone In scheme, whereby local councils and authorities were urged to provide shelter to rough sleepers with £3.2million funding from central government.
However, local authorities and charities fear what is to come for those who have been granted temporary shelter as they call on the government to protect them from being plunged back into destitution and homelessness.
Restrictive immigration policy poses threat to homeless migrants
Homeless migrants – many of whom have lived and worked in the UK for decades – are at risk of having to sleep rough once again if the government does not grant them with access to state support.
Over 15,000 rough sleepers across the UK have been housed in temporary accommodation
As it currently stands, UK immigration policy restricts many undocumented individuals (or those with insecure immigration status) from accessing vital financial support.
Ministers recently informed local authorities that they must ensure all rough sleepers currently being temporarily housed in hotels and other emergency accommodation were supported into stable housing.
However, many councils have highlighted just how flawed this approach is, since many simply will not be eligible to access housing and other crucial forms of state support as a result of their immigration status.
Letter addressed to the Home Secretary
On Tuesday, sixteen London councils and fifteen charities/organisations signed a letter to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, which reinforces that legal restrictions regarding benefits and housing support make it “almost impossible to secure long-term homes for many rough sleepers”.
Many simply will not be eligible to access housing and other crucial forms of state support as a result of their immigration status
Many are subjected to the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ condition, while others have become destitute after having had their immigration status stripped by the UK government.
If the government are to take seriously their mission to end rough sleeping in Britain, this starts first and foremost with significant immigration policy reforms.
Without access to housing, benefits and other forms of state support, those currently being housed in temporary accommodation simply will not have the means to secure stable housing in the future.
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