Asylum seeker and refugee destitution has doubled in 18 months, 4 times for children. Rough sleeping increased by a third.

The following newpaper article about a study that revealed a ‘doubling’ of asylum seeker and refugee destitution in 18 months is from the Guardian and was forwarded by NCADC. If you are on the ground and count amongst the ‘refused’ this will of course come as no surprise. But the answer is not to make the Home Office more efficient – the goal must surely be to counter the whole idea that people can be deprived of the basic necessities of life. Having to resort to charities and church handouts is an undignified last resort, although less so when asylum seekers are able to be involved in a process of self-help like many do at the NNRF. On the otherhand, it is good that so many in the wider community are seeing the need to blatantly defy the government’s attempts to punish the failed and refused by denying them food and shelter. Other examples are the Oxford parents who have organised to foster asylum seeker children so their parents cannot so easily be deported, and community action against dawn raids by police and immigration officials who turn up to take people away in Newcastle, Glasgow and elsewhere. All this is saying to the state – we’ll refuse your authority if you refuse those in our community. This is at least one positive outcome from this distressing situation, because state power is at the root of border and immigration misery.

Asylum seeker and refugee destitution has doubled, says trust

Destitution among refused asylum seekers and refugees in Britain has more than doubled in 18 months, according to a report which describes government policy on the issue as “unacceptable”.

The number of children affected has quadrupled and rough sleepers have increased by a third, says the follow-up study by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The trust prompted a national debate in March last year after revealing how many failed asylum seekers were surviving only through charity and church support. Chaired by the broadcaster and writer Kate Adie, and including Sayeeda Warsi, now Lady Warsi, the Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion, the original inquiry highlighted an “invisible population which can neither go home nor contribute to British society”.
Full article: Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, Thursday July 24, 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/24/i…dpublicservices

Asylum seeker and refugee destitution has doubled, says trust

Destitution among refused asylum seekers and refugees in Britain has more than doubled in 18 months, according to a report which describes government policy on the issue as “unacceptable”.

The number of children affected has quadrupled and rough sleepers have increased by a third, says the follow-up study by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust. The trust prompted a national debate in March last year after revealing how many failed asylum seekers were surviving only through charity and church support. Chaired by the broadcaster and writer Kate Adie, and including Sayeeda Warsi, now Lady Warsi, the Conservative shadow minister for community cohesion, the original inquiry highlighted an “invisible population which can neither go home nor contribute to British society”.

Full article: Martin Wainwright, The Guardian, Thursday July 24, 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2008/jul/24/i…dpublicservices

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In 2006 the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust URCT) commissioned a survey of destitution in Leeds. The survey was designed to inform JRCT’s ‘Inquiry into Destitution Among Refused Asylum Seekers’ The Inquiry report and the accompanying research report were both published in March 2007

Eighteen months on the survey was repeated, with the same agencies over an equivalent period of time. The aim was to assess whether there had been any change to the number of people living destitute in the city.
The findings show that the number of people living destitute in Leeds has risen. The problem is chronic, with more vulnerable people lacking either the right to work or the safety-net of statutory support.
Key Findings
More destitute people in Leeds

Destitution has substantially increased over the last 18 months in Leeds. This impacts on individuals, the agencies who support them and local communities.

331 people were recorded as being destitute during the survey period
(266 accessing services, with 65 dependents), an increase from 118 in 2006.

Visits to support agencies have more than doubled.

A chronic problem

99 people were reported as being destitute for one year or more, and there has been a large increase in people destitute for longer than two years.

The destitute people surveyed came from 35 countries: the largest groups were from Zimbabwe (21 %), Iran (16%) and Eritrea (12%).

Destitute and vulnerable

51 children were recorded as destitute (as dependents of destitute parents), an increase from 13 in the previous survey.

40 people were recorded as sleeping rough, compared with 29 in 2006.

The system is not working

The number of people who are destitute while still in the asylum system has risen under the New Asylum Model introduced in April 2007

The most common reason for people becoming destitute is ‘waiting for Section 4 Support’

The safety net is still tatteredIn ‘Moving On’ the Commissioners offered nine sets of recommendations. All those recommendations remain important, but based on the 2008 research findings we call for the following specific changes:
1. Expect contribution through working
The drain on the system, on families seeking asylum, on local agencies and on communities cannot be sustained. We repeat the 2007 call for:

Asylum seekers to be given a revocable licence to work (or access to the basic goods of food, shelter and healthcare).

2. A better asylum processIn spite of efforts to improve the system, there are still unacceptable problems which contribute directly to destitution. We call for:

Improvements to the arrangements for voluntary return (Section 4 Support) including adequate interim provision.

Improved procedures for people leaving detention.

The asylum process to be more flexible, enabling applicants to build connections and support mechanisms.

Support or licences to work to be withdrawn only when the case is finally resolved in practice, not when it is decided in principle.

3. End the culture of denial
The research shows that children and other vulnerable people are destitute. In modern Britain this is unacceptable and we believe:

UK Borders Agency and Social Services should implement procedures to ensure that no child is refused support and made destitute.

JRCT plans to repeat this survey to measure changes in the patterns of destitution and the impact of policy and procedures. However, the research could only provide a snapshot of the situation in one city and we propose that:

UK Borders Agency (UKBA) should immediately investigate the increase in destitute people accessing organisations in Leeds.

UKBA should publish regular and thorough statistical data relating to asylum seekers and refugees made destitute, refused asylum seekers and removals at the local and regional level.

4. Support for local agencies
Local voluntary and statutory services are over-stretched, often as a result of errors by the asylum system. Those errors must be addressed. Local agencies are fire-fighting and the biggest help would be a shift in national policy. In the meantime we call for:

Government to provide more resources to enable agencies to support people who are destitute.

The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

The full research report, ‘More Destitution in Leeds’ by Dave Brown, is available from JRCT.Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust,
The Garden House, Water End, York, Y030 6WQ Tel +44 (0)1904 627810
Fax +44 (0) 1904 651990
Email: enquiries@jrct.org.ukhttp://www.jrct.org.uk/JRCT is a charity registered in England and Wales: 210037

End of Bulletin:
Source for this Message:JRCTThe Guardian

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