In October, MRN joined NACCOM and Asylum Matters to write to the Prime Minister calling for a reversal to the decision to evict people with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) into homelessness. We were joined by 226 organisations and 575 individual co-signatories that asked the government to:
- Immediately halt the evictions of people who have been refused asylum.
- Place a fully funded duty on Local Authorities to accommodate people with NRPF conditions.
Since our initial letter was sent, there was a temporary pause on evictions for people who have been refused asylum that was welcomed; as shown by the order in the recent High Court ruling, and growing evidence of the risks of Covid-19 for people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, this was once again the right thing to do.
We received a reply from Chris Philp MP (Minister of Immigration Compliance and the Courts) and Kelly Tolhurst MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government). The replies stated that the government has provided sufficient funds to provide support to prevent homelessness and stated that it is ‘only right that [people who have been refused asylum] take steps to leave the UK’. This position incorrectly assumes that every person’s protection needs have been accurately and completely considered at the point of refusal – to which, we further address within the full letter.
We have again asked that people with NRPF are specifically addressed within funds given to Local Authorities, as there has not been a uniform approach to the use of funds for these individuals. In addition, we have asked for the Home Office and other departments to commit to meaningful and ongoing partnership working and consultation with Local Authorities and devolved governments, Strategic Migration Partnerships, local Public Health leads and voluntary sector organisations to ensure that shelter is available to all who need it, particularly as we exit lockdown and Covid-19 remains a threat. Finally, we again welcomed the opportunity to meet with the Ministers to discuss these issues in more depth.