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End the deliberate destitution of asylum seekers

This petition had 256 supporters

There are currently dozens of asylum seekers in Belfast who are homeless and without income. They have escaped persecution to seek refuge and sanctuary in Northern Ireland – but have instead found themselves sleeping in churches, friends’ couches and the streets. This is severely impacting their mental and physical health, as well as making any normal life here impossible.

Unlike other forms of homelessness, homelessness among asylum seekers with no recourse to public funds is a direct and intended consequence of government policy in Northern Ireland.

While people seeking asylum get limited financial and housing support through the UK Home Office, those who have had their applications refused and/or are in the process of gathering further evidence to support their claim are not provided with any support nor are they allowed to work.

But asylum seekers have started to speak out and assert their rights! Over the past number of months, Housing 4 All has been carrying out research and has found a way forward - as outlined in their 'A Place of Refuge?' report.

But they need your support!

Housing, health and social protection are human rights issues which our devolved administration has both powers and responsibilities to address.

The NI Executive has shown leadership before for asylum seekers, with expanding health care and with the current welcoming of Syrian refugees.

Housing 4 All are calling on the NI Executive to:

  1. provide public funding to homeless hostel providers so that those without access to Housing Benefit can secure emergency accommodation;
  2. change the current position that homeless hostels providing beds to destitute asylum seekers is a derogation of a hostel’s duty to take referrals from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive;
  3. institute a social services assessment for asylum seekers before they are knowingly made homeless and destitute by the Home Office to assess the nature and extent of support required;
  4. carry out research through the Northern Ireland Assembly’s services to identify the legislative opportunities for, and barriers to, securing the right to housing for all asylum seekers;
  5. carry out research through the Northern Ireland Assembly’s services into the benefits of enabling asylum seekers to access their right to work in Northern Ireland with a view to developing a pilot initiative.

Please sign today to make Northern Ireland a truly welcoming place for all!


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