The stories of destitute asylum seekers and non-EU migrants: funder response

A joint ACF/ London Funders meeting held on 25th November 2014.

The stories of destitute asylum seekers and non-EU migrants: funder response
25 November 2014, held at Praxis Community Projects

Speakers: Sue Lukes and Heather Petch, independent consultants and expert advisors for Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Gina Clayton, independent consultant and Chair of ASSIST Sheffield and South Yorkshire Refugee Law and Justice, and Sally Dahglian, CEO for Praxis. Chair: David Warner, London Funders.

Event details:
This joint Association of Charitable Foundations (ACF) and London Funders meeting was hosted by Praxis, and provided an opportunity for members:

  • To consider the process and pathways open to non-EU migrants with no recourse to public funds, and the challenges facing the individuals and the organisations that work with them.
  • To hear some of the real stories and “types” of people, drawing in cases from across the country and providing the human story alongside the process. Some of the archetypes are outlined on the Housing Rights website and this will be discussed in greater depth in the meeting, with case study examples.
  • To be updated on JRF research looking at developing housing solutions for destitute migrants in the UK and be updated on the UK-wide perspective.
  • To hear the pre-publication findings of a report examining the legal needs of destitute refused asylum seekers, and the potential for partnerships to address those needs.
  • To hear an update on the London picture and ongoing work to try to create a more coordinated response.

This meeting was prompted by requests from members to outline the real experiences of destitute or homeless migrants. London Funders and ACF have held a number of separate member events over the past year to consider the challenges that the UK faces in trying to deliver an appropriate service response to the growing number of destitute and homeless migrants. This group is especially marginalised as, with no recourse to public funds, it is not possible to pay for and therefore access most housing, even within the homelessness sector. Few service providers have the set of skills required to address the complex issues people face, in particular their underlying immigration problems which require both good legal advice and advocacy support – services which are in short supply as a result of expenditure cuts in the public sector and, in particular, legal aid.

Sue Lukes and Heather Petch presented the findings of research being conducted for a strand of Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s Housing and Poverty Programme. This initiative aims to reduce destitution amongst migrants with a focus on asylum seekers and refugees and non-EEA nationals with no recourse to public funds. Delegates heard about the different archetypes and how different categories of migrants typically end up becoming destitute, and what interventions might support them in moving out of destitution.
The presentation slides can be downloaded here.

Gina Clayton talked about the initial findings of a report looking at the legal needs of destitute refused asylum seekers, and the potential for partnerships to address those needs. 
Gina's presentation slides can be downloaded here.

Finally, the delegates heard from Adrian Berry, Barrister from Garden Court Chambers, and Rosamund McCarthy, Parter at Bates Wells Braithwaite on the legal concerns of bodiers supporting destitute migrants,