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2 October, 2020 Open access

Government urged to reverse decision to re-commence evictions of people who live in asylum accommodation

Letter to Prime Minister also calls for a fully funded duty to be placed on local authorities to accommodate people with NRPF conditions

The government has been urged to reverse its decision to re-commence evictions of people who live in asylum accommodation.

In a letter to the Prime Minister yesterday, Migrants’ Rights Network, the No Accommodation Network and Asylum Matters - and a further 225 organisations and 575 individual co-signatories - highlight that in March 2020 -

'... the UK Government and devolved governments took sensible decisions that protected people seeking asylum, people at risk of homelessness with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) and wider public health. These measures included the suspension of evictions from asylum accommodation and the provision of accommodation to everyone experiencing homelessness, regardless of their immigration status, through the ‘Everyone In’ directive and equivalent initiatives by devolved governments.'

However, the letter says that, as these temporary initiatives come to an end, the likelihood of increased destitution and homelessness amongst those who are most vulnerable is heightened -

'We support the UK Government’s aim to eradicate rough sleeping in this Parliament; however it is clear that this cannot be achieved if evictions from asylum accommodation proceed in this way, and without an end to NRPF conditions which stop local authorities from being able to provide support to everyone who needs it. Thousands of people seeking asylum who now face eviction typically have no source of alternative income or savings. Once made homeless by the inhumane NRPF conditions, they will rely on charities or local people in the communities for support. Charities supporting people who are experiencing homelessness have had to radically rethink how they provide safe accommodation, and local conditions mean that accommodation providers have significantly less capacity and serious concerns about their ability to support those most in need. Moreover, the independent legal advice that people who have been refused asylum need to consider their options to challenge the decision and/or access assisted voluntary return is either unavailable or acutely oversubscribed.'

The situation, the letters says, can and must be prevented and, as a result, the signatories urge the government to - 

'Immediately halt the evictions of people who have been refused asylum ... [and] place a fully funded duty on local authorities to accommodate people with NRPF conditions.'

For more infomation, see Action: No evictions into homelessness from asylum accommodation from the Migrants’ Rights Network website.