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Housing

Asylum seekers forced into homelessness, charity finds

Refugee Actions study finds asylum seekers left in abject poverty by Home Office delays to legitimate support

Asylum seeking families in the UK are falling in poverty and homelessness because the Home Office is wrongly denying assistance, according to a new report.

The research by the Refugee Action charity, based on the detailed analysis of more than 300 cases, shows asylum seekers are not getting the support they are entitled to, or are struggling with long delays to support.

Asylum seekers are waiting an average of almost two months (58 days) for housing and the pittance – £5.28 a day – they are entitled to for living costs, known as Section 95 support.

Many the organisation spoke to have been living on the streets and have struggled to eat a proper meal in several weeks. Some required counselling after contemplating suicide.

The majority of applicants for Section 95 support are initially refused, according to the charity’s research. But 92% of people who then challenge the decision have their support approved, showing an unnecessary period of delay in almost all cases.

The government must take urgent action to prevent some of the most vulnerable slipping through the cracks

“Our research exposes the appalling treatment of families and individuals who have escaped war and persecution abroad, only to be badly let down here in Britain,” said chief executive Stephen Hale.

“The failure of the Home Office to follow their own policies has frequently left people homeless, an unable to feed themselves and their families.

“The government must take urgent action to prevent some of the most vulnerable people in our society slipping through the cracks of the system.”

Refugee Action wants the government to apply rules regarding support for asylum seekers consistently and transparently. The organisation also called on asylum seekers to be given the right to work, as in the case in most European countries.

Photo: Jazzmany/shutterstock.com

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