Destitution and homelessness have been built-in features of the UK immigration system for some time. However, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many migrants have temporarily been protected from homelessness due to two key measures: a suspension of evictions from asylum accommodation and the continuation of financial supportby the Home Office; and the ‘Everyone In’ policy directive from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) alongside equivalent measures from devolved governments which allowed local authorities to accommodate everyone at risk of homelessness, regardless of immigration status or No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) conditions.
These measures have successfully brought people inside during the pandemic and have undoubtedly protected people who have accessed emergency accommodation. However, these are ‘emergency’ measures and while MHCLG have announced that evictions from the private rental sector will remain suspended, the Home Office have indicated that asylum evictions may resume from the end of June.
This has led to a concern that we will face a ‘cliff edge’ where thousands of people could be made homeless from asylum accommodation without recourse to public funds. This would be a public health disaster while the pandemic is ongoing, and a significant failure of public policy if we were to create a new population of people facing homelessness afterhaving shown that it can be avoided.We cannot go back to normal when ‘normal’ means life lived in crisis and destitution for so many people in our society.
We must retain the protections provided for people while the pandemic is ongoing and secure a just transition from emergency measures to a longer-term settlement.
Joint briefing with Asylum Matters
Together with Asylum Matters, we have produced a briefing document on potential asylum evictions. The aims of the briefing are to highlight the impact that the resumption of asylum evictions would have on Local Authority homelessness services, to encourage Local Authorities to lobby the Home Office on this issue, and to provide information to other partners and agencies on the risks posed by evictions from asylum accommodation to those impacted.
>>> View the full briefing here <<<