Lifeline Destitution Service

Crisis intervention for destitute or insecurely housed refugees and asylum seekers. The ultimate aim is to enable beneficiaries to find the breathing space to rebuild their lives and resettle independently.

Syrian refugees newly arrived and in need of help.

The service consists of a highly proactive crisis intervention programme, including a proactive advice service to get people legal support, a community hosting service (Room for Refugees) to provide safe shelter and crisis funds for the destitute through our Emergency Relief Fund.

In Glasgow, the Lifeline Service plays a leading role in assisting those at risk of eviction or experiencing delays, housing or human rights concerns under Mears or Migrant Help, the agencies contracted by the Home Office to support and accommodate asylum seekers.

As well as  Glasgow, the Service operates in other dispersal towns and cities across Scotland. 

It provides advice, information and practical support to refused asylum seekers who are at risk of destitution and need assistance with identifying their options, Section 4 applications, finding legal support and accessing crisis suport and/or shelter.

The purpose of this advice is to assist people to avoid or survive destitution and seek legal resolution. 

Volunteers also help vulnerable people to  moves from hotels into dispersal accommodation.

Emergency Relief Fund

To help those suffering severe hardship as a result of destitution or disaster. The fund is paid for by donations by members of the public. Referral partners who register with Positive Action in Housing can also make access the fund.

In 2021/22, Positive Action in Housing distributed hundreds of emergency crisis grants totaling almost £100K families and individuals in need.

The year before we distributed £168K because of the pandemic - a three-fold increase since 2019-20 primarily because of Covid 19 recovery. 

From 2022 onwards, we will provide assistance in the form of clothes and food vouchers, small contributions towards phone too ups and bus travel. We also assist with heating grants, hospital bags for new mothers, baby food, nappies and items. 

The Emergency Relief Fund also assists with digital tech and skills. 

Our Ukraine Fund also distributes small grants for Ukrainian war refugees trying to leave a war zone.


The UK prime minister expressed incredulity that people could be left without money and promised to look into it. He seemed not to know that government policy leaves people without recourse to funds and effectively traps them in poverty. 

The UK government has, for much of the past decade, been operating what itself terms a “hostile environment” for some migrants. 

No recourse to public funds (NRPF)  is one of the most damaging elements of the hostile environment.

Many people with NRPF have  leave to remain in the UK, but are prevented from accessing a range of benefits. These include income support, child tax credit, universal credit and housing benefits.

Most asylum seekers who apply for immigration status are trapped in this limbo. As undocumented people, they have no right to work. As applicants with a temporary permit to remain, they have no right to social welfare.

Nearly 1.4 million people are thought to have had no recourse to public funds in the UK in 2020 – including 175,000 children. The system is carefully crafted to relieve the government of any legal obligation to provide resources. As the government cannot legally force these people back to their home countries, it encourages them to leave by making their lives impossible.

Since 2012, the Home Office started putting no recourse to public funds conditions on people in the process of legally settling in the UK. This includes families with British or settled children or partners who have been living and working in the UK for years.

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