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Over 100 organisations write to party leaders urging action on migrant homelessness

119 organisations working in the fields of homelessness and migrants’ rights have today written to the leaders of the Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat parties, urging whoever forms the next Government to address the issue of migrant homelessness and ensure that the asylum and immigration systems no longer drives people needlessly into homelessness and destitution.

The letter, which was coordinated by the charities Homeless Link and NACCOM and sent ahead of the final head-to-head debate between Starmer and Sunak, is signed by a range of organisations. These include leading national homelessness charities Crisis, Shelter and St Mungo’s, refugee organisations the Refugee Council and Praxis, wider cross sector organisaitons including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

Signatories of the letter call for the next Government to take urgent action, highlighting how, “due to the current asylum and immigration system, many migrants are made much more vulnerable to experiencing homelessness, or face additional barriers to moving on from homelessness” because of their immigration status. For example, the letter references the Government’s decision last year to change the eviction process for new refugees leaving asylum accommodation, which led to a 965% increase over six months in people sleeping rough after their Home Office support was stopped.

The organisations also criticise “punitive, discriminatory policies and inflammatory rhetoric that scapegoat and marginalise migrants.” But they state that “the next government can deliver both the immediate and long-term changes needed to ensure the asylum and immigration system no longer drive migrants into homelessness.”

These changes include implementing the following measures:

  • Embed a cross-departmental approach to tackling rough sleeping and homelessness.
  • Make sure changes to the immigration and asylum system do not actively contribute to an increase in migrant homelessness.
  • Stop the flow of homelessness from the asylum system.
  • Improve access to quality legal advice.
  • Adress the impact of restrictions on public funds due to people’s immigration status.

Bridget Young, Director at NACCOM:

“No-one in our communities should be made to experience the trauma and indignity of homelessness simply because of their immigration status, yet this is the reality facing many refugees and migrants in the UK today.

“As a network of frontline charities, we see how people in the asylum and immigration system are systematically forced into homelessness and destitution, all because they are blocked from accessing vital support services that are available to everyone else, including, for many, emergency homelessness accommodation.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. We are asking all parties to wake up to the urgency and reality of homelessness in migrant communities. Any incoming government that is serious about ending homelessness for everyone must ensure that immigration policy doesn’t drive up levels of homelessness, as it is currently doing.”

Rick Henderson, CEO at Homeless Link, the membership body for frontline homelessness in England, said:

“The main political parties have all made commitments to vastly reduce homelessness and rough sleeping. But the elephant in the room is the way our immigration and asylum systems push people into homelessness and destitution.

“I hope this letter, and the weight of support behind it, will demonstrate the need for whomever forms the next government to make long term changes that ensure the asylum and immigration system no longer drive people into homelessness, but instead support migrants to build full and happy lives.”

Read the letter in full

 

Channel website: http://www.homelesslink.org.uk

Original article link: https://homeless.org.uk/news/over-100-organisations-write-to-party-leaders-urging-action-on-migrant-homelessness/

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