Statement on Serco Lock Change Evictions

30 October 2019

In response to concerns that Serco may carry out lock change evictions from today Thursday 31 October 2019, Positive Action in Housing, the refugee and migrant homelessness charity, has issued the following statement:

We are dismayed that Serco is going ahead and evicting vulnerable people from the only homes they have while they attempt to regularise their asylum cases with the home office.

We are also disappointed that the Court of Session has still not provided clarity on this matter of lock change evictions by announcing its decision over the Ali Vs Serco Appeal.

Every one of the 110 families or individuals who we saw between July and September – and threatened with lock change evictions – did not fully know their rights, they may be physically or mentally ill or elderly or extremely isolated. They are the most vulnerable of the vulnerable.

We know from 18 years of experience of dealing with asylum claims about the home Office delays and incompetence, this routinely involves falling in and out of destitution multiple times, and trying to gather evidence from abroad. These are not failed asylum seekers. Those who know how to navigate legal paperwork have done so and gone onto get section 4 support or secure their paperwork. Those who are left are the ones we are concerned about.

Our destitution caseworkers are on standby to assist anyone who faces eviction. We are working with Shelter Scotland, Law Centres and Glasgow Lawyers to appeal the evictions. We understand that there are a number of appeals in to stop the evictions over the next couple of weeks. Our caseworkers will assist people with shelter in the homes of volunteers, we are currently sheltering 60 families or individuals with volunteers on any given night. We are also providing crisis grants, proactive casework and access to housing and asylum lawyers.

Our advice to anyone in this position is to take charge of your eviction and your asylum case and don’t delay, see your housing and asylum lawyer immediately, and contact our office on 0141 353 2220 for an emergency appointment to see if we can stop you being made destitute or find shelter in peoples homes in Glasgow, the outskirts or Edinburgh. For men who are being left destitute we recommend they go to the British Red Cross or Glasgow Night Shelter who can then assess them and refer to us for community hosting, or go to the Glasgow City Mission. We can usually place women very quickly in a matter of days. For men it can be more difficult. For couples, more challenging but we can manage to place people for a few weeks or months. Its not ideal but that’s the reality.

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