Last week, the Home Office made a sudden decision to resume eviction proceedings for those who have been refused asylum in England, with plans to resume in Scotland and Wales at a later date.
We have grave concerns that many people across our communities could be forced into street homelessness in a matter of weeks. This would not be acceptable under normal circumstances, but in the context of rising COVID infection rates across the UK, it is clearly unsafe and irresponsible.
As an urgent measure, we are calling on the Home Office to immediately halt their plans to resume evictions for people who have been refused asylum. It is obvious that this is the only just and fair course of action in the interests of the safety of people seeking asylum and public health.
Without immediate action, the impact on people seeking asylum will be devastating.
We have been working with others across the sector to secure parliamentary scrutiny of the Home Office’s decision, but as ever, our strength is always in collective action. We have produced some template resources with NACCOM that you can use to write to your constituency MP or Local Authority to join the call to halt evictions and protect everyone from homelessness and COVID-19, regardless of their immigration status.
- A template letter to local authorities that you can use asking your local council to speak up to oppose these plans;
- A template letter to MPs for NACCOM members and groups engaged in frontline destitution services prepared by our colleagues at NACCOM;
- A template letter to MPs for groups who aren’t engaged in frontline service provision;
- A template letter to MPs for individuals.
These are draft resources, meaning we encourage you to adapt and amend to make them relevant to you and the organisations or groups you represent, as long as the message to the Home Secretary remains loud and clear: the Home Office must immediately halt their plans to resume evictions for people who have been refused asylum.
Longer term, alongside many others, we want to see significant changes to national policy to allow everyone to be protected from homelessness. We previously outlined our proposals in our joint position statement with NACCOM, Everyone Out, which included a new fully funded duty for local authorities to provide accommodation to everyone at risk of homelessness, regardless of immigration status, and an end to NRPF conditions for everyone, including those without leave to remain.
But for now, the message is simple. No-one should be forced into homelessness, not least in the middle of a public health pandemic.
We’ll be updating this post with any further opportunities for action, so stay tuned.