NACCOM -agencies assisting asylum seekers to find housing
Dear fellow NACCOM members,
One of our Ethiopian residents who has refugee status is looking to move out of our accommodation and away from Newcastle upon Tyne but he has no support network (and therefore no local connection) anywhere else in the country. In light of this – do any of your projects have space to accommodate him (as he will struggle to find accommodation otherwise)?
Many thanks for any help or signposting you can offer,
I’d like to subscribe please!
HOUSE INSURANCE. One of Abigail Housing’s house-owners was recently quoted a 150% increase in his buildings premium when he informed the insurer that the house now accommodates destitute asylum seekers. We tried getting the company to budge, but with no success. I then managed to get a vastly better quote (just 30% higher) from Rawlins Insurance Brokers in Stoke and the house owner has happily gone with this. If anyone else is interested, their contact is Hazel Rees (firstname.lastname@example.org / 01782 753000). They have 10 years experience of insuring properties housing asylum seekers. I have no personal interest in this company!
House Insurance – I too was quoted ridiculous amounts when I stated that I would be hosting a destitute asylum seeker. I went through several brokers and cheapest quote was over £1300! I eventually had a sensible and affordable quote from Cooperative insurance Services and recommend them. They simply quoted me for an extra adult non paying lodger without discriminating about their status.
We are really pleased to be able to recruit for an ASSIST Accommodation development worker with an 18 month contract funded by the Homelessness Transition Fund.
Please circulate this to people who you think might be interested.
There will be limited capacity to respond to enquiries about the post should but all correspondence should go to email@example.com
Charity registration number: 1100894
Part-Time Accommodation Development Worker
£24,646 pro-rata – (£19,716 actual) 28 hours/week 18 Month contract*
(*Will be extended if continuation funding successful)
ASSIST is looking for a new staff member who can set up and run an exciting new project providing support and accommodation to destitute asylum seekers. This will be a diverse, demanding but highly rewarding role.
The successful candidate will develop and implement systems and training to provide enhanced support to destitute asylum seekers in Sheffield. This project will focus on the work carried out by the ASSIST nightshelter and accommodation teams. It aims to ensure no asylum seeker sleeps rough.
The key responsibilities of this post are to:
Oversee and provide support to both night shelter and accommodation volunteer led teams
Develop or organise the development of a training programme for volunteers.
Enhance links with other agencies
Investigate and submit proposals on the future sustainability for this service
The post-holder will need to be highly motivated to identify priorities on a day to day basis. ASSIST is a small organisation and therefore they will not have an office based manager. Strategic decisions and project guidance will be given through line management.
Application packs are not available by email from the office. They are only available on our website: http://www.assistsheffield.org.uk
Applications can ONLY be submitted by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline for applications to be received: 5pm on Monday 25th February
Interview date: Thursday 7th March
Bristol made the local news this week as we did a sleep out in the chains of destitution (in sub zero temperatures) to raise awareness of destitution in advance of the full council meeting this tuesday which agreed (hooray!) a motion to deplore national government policy of forced destitution of refused asylum seekers and to try and gain national support from MP’s against this policy, getting them to call a debate in the house of commons. It gained cross party support (Lab – Lib Dem- Green), and minus the conservative party (less than 30 out of 70 councillors) who all voted against, was agreed unanimously by the other parties. Conservative comments in the debate were very ill informed and almost touchingly loyal to UKBA who they felt to be always accurate in their decisions! There is lots of education work to do with those councillors and we will continue to try and change their minds over time.
The ITV west news report is here:
Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in something similar in your area. It was for us a follow on from city of sanctuary status, asking for real change beyond just accepting city of sanctuary status. Councillors were very supportive. This is admittedly a strange route to take as national government decides this policy but nonetheless feels like a hugely important step and very worthwhile. If all councils followed suit, national policy MUST surely be affected???
I have recently taken over the co-ordination of Leicester Respite Hosting Scheme and am seeking ideas on how to increase our list of hosts. We’ve been going for about 10 months now and struggle to respond to referrals becuse of this shortage.
How have more established schemes overcome this problem please?
I wish I had some genuine inspiration here. I’ve tried a number of routes, principally speaking in churches, at Rotary and other groups, articles in local paper, radio interviews, newsletters, etc. By far the best tool however always seems to be existing hosts influencing their friends. If anyone else has any other bright ideas, please share them here!
Andrew, I’m really sorry for not getting this on the website earlier. I think the length stopped it posting automatically. I hope you managed to get some answers.
Thanks, Dave, I’ll try not to be so prolix in future!!
He’s still detained, despite a successful JR and the rules about not detaining those whose age has been disputed and those suffering from serious mental illness, and despite all our efforts. We would still appreciate your experiences of similar situations so we can put something useful together, hopefully.
Sorry – this is a long post!
Following the detention on 15 February of a young male resident of Nottingham Arimathea Trust and the threat of his detention scheduled for 20 February, we got together with other local agencies and individuals to do what we could to stop it. With the help of a barrister working pro bono, we were successful, and are now waiting for his release which, of course, should be ‘immediate’ (but hasn’t been, yet)..
UKBA apparently admitted to the barrister that they had deliberately been obstructive by failing to respond in a timely way to faxes, and by delaying the detainee’s responses to a request for permission to disclose his information, for example, at Morton Hall IRC, and also by not doing either the medical or mental health assessments for fitness for detention or fitness to fly. On the barrister’s insistence, Colnbrook finally did the ‘fitness to fly’ assessment, which he failed.
There is, of course, more evidence of the abuse of this young man’s human rights by UKBA, and I’m sure you can imagine some of it. Caron put up a site – http://www.mycharitypage.com/NAT – to appeal for funds to pay the barrister before we knew she was going to work pro bono. The appeal has been very successful, so we are now establishing a fighting fund for this and future cases.
One of the things we want to do is to compile a report of our experiences, both so we learn what to do next time and so we can compile a report on the abuses in the system for UKBA, our MPs and others to get the system changed. I would like to ask whether any of you has also gone down this route, and if you would be willing to share your experiences and the results of any actions you have taken. I’m particularly interested in any reports you may have produced or contributed to, and what outcomes you may have achieved. Also, it would be good to confirm that what Morton Hall and Colnbrook did or didn’t do is repeated elsewhere consistently. We have a suspicion that the fact that we went to the press did more harm than good in the early stages of our battle: is that a fair assessment in your experience?
Our first debrief meeting is on 29 February: if you’ve got anything which you think would be useful to us, please let me have it either directly on email@example.com or through this blog. We will, of course, share our conclusions with anyone who might be interested.
Thanks in advance for your help!
I think it would be a really good idea to try to log our experiences of detention, but I wonder if, even more importantly, we ought to have a day conference on the topic – but not on an intellectual or necessarily even a campaigning level, but simply a practical conference on what you do if someone gets detained. It’s a real minefield – there are issues around getting luggage to them, getting bail, visiting, finding a solicitor (should you use a duty solicitor?) and whether or not to campaign – and how. We have had several detentions recently, and I have been to bail hearings and visited detention centres, but I still don’t really think I know what I’m doing!
Yes. Perhaps realistically a regional meeting?
I know a young woman we supported before she was placed in foster care, used google translate to learn how to say sentences and communicate with the foster carers and the other young people in their care. She also phoned me and had spent a whole day working out how a conversation with me might work and printed off the translations, i actually thought she had learned to speak english almost fluently in a few days. I know grammatically it struggles, but the basics seem to help communication. Im not sure how wide the languages it can help with, was swahili which is quite widespread language in the case i know of.
Has anyone come across any affordable electronic or web-based translation products that hosts could use where guests have little or no spoken English. Pocket electronic translators (eg: http://www.ectaco.co.uk/ml500/) cost £150+ and tend not to have languages that are critical for us, such as Amharic.
Good to see the blog up and running, I’d like to subscribe.
Welcome to the blog. Many apologies for the delay in subscribing you – I didn’t get an alert, so wasn’t aware until I went to edit something on the site.
I want to subsribe please!
Thought some might be interested in this. Best wishes, Becky Macfarlane
New Regional Asylum Project recruits three Regional Activism Co-ordinators
Hours: 3 days per week (60% of full-time) per post
Salary: £25,000 per annum pro rata
Location: Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds/Sheffield respectively
Would you like to work locally to effect change on attitudes and policy towards asylum seekers? The Regional Asylum Project is an exciting new project which will use regional organising to achieve a louder, better coordinated voice for asylum seekers. It has a dual focus – to inform and change attitudes about asylum seekers and refugees, and to campaign for positive change to the asylum system. It is a partnership with ‘Still Human Still Here’ and will seek to support existing campaigns. It aims to enhance grass roots and national campaigns, increase the involvement of those with direct experience of asylum, and build a movement in support of change. Funding is confirmed for 12 months, and we anticipate being able to continue the project for at least a further two years. See the attached document for more information. Application form can be downloaded here: http://www.thenetworkforsocialchange.org.uk/social-change/jobs.html
Closing date: 10 February, midnight
I have been made aware today that one of our Night Shelter clients is Syrian – the first we’ve had for years. I don’t know anything about his case yet, but will find out. It does seem odd to refuse anyone from there at the moment, but UKBA refused Darfuris for years so many had been murdered that they could no longer deny that it was genocide.
SYRIAN NATIONALS: REFUSALS
We have been shocked that a young Syrian man with a track record of political activity in the UK has just had a second fresh claim refusal, despite submitting what his solicitor believed to be very credible evidence.
Are people aware of any recent helpful case law / sources of help or advice? It seems incredible that anyone from Syria should be being denied even time-limited discretionary leave at present.
The main positive thing i feel we can do, is ensure MP’s know UKBA are making these decisions and the MPs are then empowered to ask the right questions to the Minister. Hopefully by getting some public attention drawn to this, add pressure so some form of temporary status can be used if they feel the situation in Syria in the long term is likely to be resolved.
Thought you should know a Syrian man staying in Nottingham was picked up recently for removal to Syria and then the removal was stopped yesterday and he was released back to Nottingham. I dont know what happened, but drop me a line if you want to know more and i can find out or put you in touch with Jane who knows more about this case. Thanks
Great work Hayley! Here’s hoping for more sharing ideas the eco-friendly way!
Website is looking lovely. Hope all had a good xmas and new year.
If anyones on Facebook check out http://www.facebook.com/groups/hopeprojects/ we have a new group… Also our fourth annual Hope Projects Lunch, is on Friday 3 February 2012: 12-2, talks, very good food, singing, some crafts for sale…
Simon:From what i’ve seen in Birmingham some older legacy case Iranians are getting leave to remain, but some are still signing and waiting, the new cases (NAM) are pretty static: sign no change to situation, some FC are being accepted most refused v.quickly… Not heard of Iranians being detained so far…
Council Tax: Single Person Discount and Hosts
Has any hosting project successfully helped a single host avoid losing their 25% council tax discount?
Simon: sorry, nothing much to say re- destitute Iranians. One of our hosted guys, destitute and reporting (without incident) for over a year, has just had what his solicitor believed was a watertight fresh claim refused: now awaiting outcome of application for JR
Leicester are setting up a hosting scheme. I would like to know what other groups have done about insurance for their hosts, as a potential host has been refused a quote for building/contents insurance because she planned to have a guest. Do you know any helpful insurance companies- I have been suggested Ecclesical- any others?
You could try Ansvar Insurance. We use them for our houses.
HOME AWAY FROM HOME – 9th December 2011, LONDON
An event for workers and volunteers of community-based projects and groups which provide practical help and support to migrants in the situation of extreme exclusion
Check out the ‘News’ tab for details of this event
The conference was really worthwhile, and it’s great to hear that London Hosting has got funding for a full-time co-ordinator. It looks likely that they will be appointed early next year. I look forward to seeing a great project evolve in London, where it is most needed!
I have a question for NACCOM members – not sure if this is the best place to post it?
I’d like to hear everyone’s experience of what’s happening to refused, destitute Iranians who are regularly reporting to UKBA? Are many/any of them being deported? Or detained? Or granted Leave to Remain?
Many thanks in advance for any help you can give,
Simon Cook (Project Manager, Action Housing – Newcastle upon Tyne)
Website looks great Haley. Well done!
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