Our Frontline Homelessness Advice Service offers essential advice and support to deal with the challenges for newly granted refugees having to rapidly move from one system of housing support to another. The Service also assists people to access social housing and to challenge poor housing conditions and hate crime.
In 2015-16 the service helped 241 people, over half of which were families with children. 92% of our clients were living in poverty and their cases included overcrowding, poor housing conditions, serious states of disrepair and racially motivated hate crime. Two thirds of our clients were newly granted refugees.
How we can help
A significant amount of our work involves challenging decisions by local authorities who had categorised those people who had left their housing due to racism and hate crimes as “intentionally homeless”. These decisions were overturned and our clients had a second chance to be rehoused in a more suitable location where they were less obvious targets for racial attacks.
Another large area of our work was to challenge specific landlord organisations about the serious state of disrepair in their accommodation and sudden evictions. In our experience, the scale of this problem is far worse than reported. We have noticed that those who were dependent on the Home Office for their status were unlikely to then complain to the Home Office about their accommodation. We therefore welcomed recent comments of acknowledgement and empathy from the Home Affairs Committee who described conditions in Glasgow as “horrific” and the worst in the UK.
“Eritrea was a beautiful place before the war. Then I had to leave. There are a lot of police call outs here. We’ve been burgled several times, though we actually have nothing. Our caseworker was good and repeatedly pressed the landlord until they finally secured the damaged door. We don’t go out after 6pm. We pray a lot”
Hanna and daughter Alina, 6 years old, seeking asylum after escaping Eritrea
If you need housing advice and would like to access our support services for new migrants, asylum seekers and ethnic minorities, please see our timetable of drop in clinics and outreach surgeries.
With more people seeking refuge in the UK after escaping war zones, and given the observations of the Home Affairs Committee, our work is more important than ever. If you would like to help us in fighting for this part of our community then please take a look at our options for donating or hosting a refugee yourself.