£110,000 grant to aid response effort for eviction-threatened asylum seekers
The Scottish Government has responded to the threat of asylum seekers in Glasgow facing homelessness and destitution with emergency funding which will allow charities to provide support until their legal options have been exhausted.
It comes after Home Office housing provider Serco revealed plans to issue lock-change orders to tenants refused asylum in the UK.
The Destitute Asylum Seeker Service (DASS) is being given £110,000 for the next six months, allowing three partner charities to double their capacity to help people back into asylum support and provide stable and safe accommodation. They are:
- The Scottish Refugee Council, whose Destitution Advocacy Project provides advice and advocacy
- The Refugee Survival Trust, to increase the amount of work carried out by their Destitution Advisers, policy and accommodation workers
- The British Red Cross, for prevention work to help avoid people becoming destitute
Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said: “While we welcome the pause in the issue of lock change notices, this is only a temporary measure, and the fact remains that destitution and homelessness are built into the current asylum system – placing hundreds of people at risk.
“The plight of people threatened with eviction demands a resolute and humanitarian approach and we cannot see people turned on to the streets because of the failure of the Home Office’s asylum policy. We all have a moral duty to do what we can to help those most in need and this additional funding, while a short term solution, will provide urgent assistance needed.
“The Scottish Government wants to work with the Home Office to improve support for asylum seekers at all stages of the process, and find a sustainable, long term solution to ensure that the current situation, caused by the Home Office’s failed processes, can never happen again in Scotland. This needs to include equity of funding for Glasgow City Council which is a Home Office dispersal area and has welcomed asylum seekers. It is unacceptable to deny funding to Glasgow when it is available to English councils.”
Sabir Zazai, chief executive of Scottish Refugee Council, said: “The last few weeks have shown just how desperately we need a safety net for people at risk of homelessness and destitution.
“Our asylum advisors provide intensive support and advocacy for people at a critical moment in their lives, when their claim for refugee protection is refused and they face destitution on the streets of Glasgow. People often find themselves in this situation through no fault of their own. The UK’s asylum system is complicated and mistakes in decision making and administrative delays leave people in limbo, vulnerable and homeless. But we all have rights. Our service works with people to help them access those rights and assess their options, intervening to prevent people falling into abject destitution, something no one should face in our society.”