Over the last fortnight, we’ve seen hundreds of people take a stand against the Home Office’s reckless and irresponsible decision to resume evictions for people who have been refused asylum. From NACCOM’s online day of action on the 7th October, to joint letters and statements from political leaders, voices across the UK have been calling on the Home Office to #StopAsylumEvictions.
Without an immediate halt to these plans, 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 and winter on the way, it is clearly unsafe and irresponsible.
To everyone who’s taken action – on social media, with MPs, or your local authority – we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you. Our collective voice could not be clearer: everyone must be protected from homelessness during this public health emergency.
Here’s a quick rundown of highlights from the last week, and actions you can still take!
- Alongside NACCOM and Migrants Rights Network, we were proud to help coordinate a letter to the Prime Minister from 225 organisations, asking for him to immediately reverse the decision and keep everyone safe from COVID.
- People seeking asylum at risk of eviction have also spoken to the Guardian about their fears of facing homelessness in the middle of a pandemic.
- Three directly elected Mayors – Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram and Jamie Driscoll – published a public statement on the 7th October, demanding further protections from eviction for people who have been refused asylum and for an end to discriminatory No Recourse to Public Funds conditions. In their words, “everyone should have access to a safe and stable home.” You can read the full statement here.
- Concerns have been raised by Hull City Council in its evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, describing the decision to resume eviction proceedings – particularly in the context of rising rates of COVID-19 – “irresponsible.” Glasgow City Council have also written to the Home Secretary saying that to resume evictions “in the current climate in the city would be dangerous, would put numerous people at risk and would be disastrous for community relations in the city.”
- There has also been concerning news that people are facing eviction notices in areas of local lockdown. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Siobhan from Merseyside Law Clinic explained, “it’s a public health issue, and the situation now, it’s just such chaos.” May Bulman at The Independent covered this issue in full over the weekend.
- Similarly, medical bodies and homelessness charities have warned that without urgent Government action to protect people forced to sleep rough this winter, lives will be at risk. Politicians have also started calling for the resumption of ‘Everyone In’ to keep people safe from COVID-19 over the winter.
It’s more important than ever to take action to keep people safe. Use our joint resources for writing to your MP or Local Authority to ask them to join us in taking action to #StopAsylumEvictions. Let us know if you get a response from your MP or councillors by emailing us at [email protected], or your local AM campaigns project manager.
Read our joint policy paper with NACCOM, Everyone Out? Evictions from Asylum Accommodation, for more information about what needs to be done to protect everyone from homelessness and COVID-19.