Positive Action in Housing launches Winter Crisis Appeal
Refugee homelessness charity Positive Action in Housing has launched its Winter Crisis Appeal to help hundreds of destitute families, men and women approaching the charity’s Lifeline Service.
According to the charity, the harsh effects of the UK asylum process and lengthy administrative delays in deciding on a case have combined to create conditions where hundreds of refugee and asylum seekers are affected by hunger and destitution.
In 2016-17, the charity distributed £42,440 in crisis payments to 496 families and individuals in need of humanitarian assistance to prevent hunger and destitution, and provided 21,957 nights of free shelter to destitute refugees and asylum seekers through its volunteer hosts.
The figures reveal a 279 per cent increase on the previous year, demonstrating “the impact of the ongoing refugee crisis and the robustness of our new online system to cope with such demand”.
This winter, the charity expects to assist over 750 destitute children, women and men with emergency crisis grants as well as hosting.
Robina Qureshi, chief executive of Positive Action in Housing, said: “On the ground, we are seeing children going to school too hungry to learn. We’re seeing new mothers, older people with dementia and no clue about their asylum case, young men with severe mental health problems, all spending years in destitution and in desperate need of a safe, warm place to recuperate and to resume their fight to stay in Scotland.
“Some people say they should just leave, but they have a human right to claim protection and the asylum process is known to fast track genuine cases into failure so that people are forced to submit fresh asylum claims or seek a judicial review until they are given proper consideration. We are seeing people who spent decades in destitution eventually being granted leave to remain. So they were right to persist with a broken asylum system and languish in destitution in the process.
“By not allowing people to rebuild their lives, Scotland and the rest of the UK is losing their drive, positivity and creativity. They are also losing millions each year in taxes because of the growing problem of long term destitution whereby people without status are not allowed to work or save money. So how are they meant to rebuild their lives? What a lost opportunity at a time when Scotland needs immigrants to grow its social policies.
“We urgently need more funds and volunteers to address the emergency that people find themselves in and to enable them to stay and fight for their human rights to stay and rebuild their lives.”