The network, founded by HACT, launches a new migrant 'destitution pack' for providers.
The Housing and Migration Network is urging social landlords to make a difference to the lives of destitute asylum seekers and other migrants in the UK. To help do this the Network has launched a destitution pack highlighting how housing associations and charities can work together to provide short-term housing, as well as the support needed to prevent homelessness. It is based on a Hope Housing model developed by Hope Projects in Birmingham.
The destitution pack has been developed to help, in particular, destitute asylum seekers who have no access to public funds but who have some prospect of regularising their status. Destitute migrants are often living in limbo as they are unable to work and provide for themselves and may be denied healthcare. Many sleep rough or stay with family or friends in overcrowded accommodation which can have a detrimental effect on the neighbourhood.
Paul Birtill, Director of Metropolitan Migration Foundation, which is one of the funders of the Housing and Migration Network, said: “Destitute migrants are unlikely to be able to tackle their destitution or regularise their immigration status unless they have a stable address for a short period of time and that’s where housing associations have a role to play. By providing one or two properties each they can have a great impact on the life chances of people who have already suffered a great deal.”
Paul Birtill continued: “The approach outlined in the destitution pack works well, as housing associations can make a contribution towards alleviating desperate housing needs by partnering with competent charities that will manage the project and provide specialist support. This makes the contribution of housing associations small but hugely effective.”
The Housing and Migration Network was jointly established by HACT and its funders – Metropolitan Migration Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The Network brought together a group of 20 people from a diverse range of organisations including chief executives of Metropolitan, Midland Heart, Look Ahead and Bolton at Home, as well as senior local authority staff. The housing associations funded Hope to write the destitution pack and have developed or are committed to developing similar schemes.
Geoff Wilkins of Hope Projects said: “Destitute asylum seekers are a part of the communities that housing associations should be serving – often the most deprived and disadvantaged part. Hope Housing provides one model for how associations and other social landlords can work with local specialist agencies to respond effectively to the housing needs of those otherwise excluded from statutory housing provision.”