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Destitution is something that can affect individuals at every stage of the asylum process.

Sometimes a refused asylum seeker cannot return to their home country and have no papers to travel anywhere else. However, they are not allowed to work nor do they have access to public funds. Such people can be left destitute for years but they would rather face this and feel safe than return to the place from which they fled. Others are left destitute between refusal and appeal.

People seeking sanctuary also face extreme poverty (support rates are around 50% below the UK poverty line) throughout the asylum process. 

Ironically, many are left destitute at the point they get leave to remain while they wait for residents permits, NI number etc. so that they can apply for work / benefits or even access a homeless hostel. 

What CoS Groups are doing in this area:

Organisations working on Destitution 

Asylum Matters – advocate and provide briefings on asylum support and  accommodation issues and the right to work. 

Still Human Still Here (Still Human Still Here is now part of the Asylum Matters project but their website still hosts a wealth of resources)

NACCOM the UK’s national No Accommodation Network

Refugee Action

Refugee Council

British Red Cross

Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution

Amnesty International

Information on Destitution / Advising Someone who is Destitute

Housing Rights Information page for People who are Destitute

A Guide to making a homelessness application from Refugee Council

Migrant Destitution Toolkit from Strategic Alliance on Migrant Destitution

Homeless Link resources on supporting people with no recourse to public funds

NACCOM briefing on ‘Right to Rent’ regulations

Other Resources

A video from Nottingham and Notts Refugee Forum on asylum destitution

Freedom from Torture ‘The Survivors’ ‘A to Z Guide to the Poverty Barrier’ 

Refugee Council Report: Refugees Without Refuge – findings from a  survey of newly recognised refugees (Oct 2017)

Refugee Action Report: Slipping through the cracks – How Britain’s asylum support system fails the most vulnerable (July 2017) – an analysis of delays and incorrect decisions in asylum support applications and Missing The Safety Net Report with NACCOM 

APPG on Refugees Report: Refugees Welcome?: The Experience of New Refugees in the UK (Apr 2017) 

British Red Cross Report: ‘Can’t Stay. Can’t Go. Refused Asylum-seekers who cannot be returned’ (2017) and The costs of destitution 2020

NICRAS Report: Living in Limbo: The Life of Refused Asylum Seekers in Northern Ireland  (2017) – looking at the experiences of refused asylum-seekers in Northern Ireland

Refugee Council Report: England’s Forgotten Refugees (May 2016) – exploring the challenges faced by newly granted refugees

ASAP (Asylum Support Appeals Project) Research: The Waiting Game: Delays in Providing Asylum Support after Appeals – (Feb 2016)

Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report: Destitution in the UK 2020 – looking at destitution in all sectors, not just relating to migration 

Children’s Society Report: “I don’t feel human” (2010) – experiences of destitution amongst young refugees and migrants

NACCOM and Homeless Link have created a Hosting Toolkit – it is designed to support the establishment of new schemes and promote good practice in existing schemes

For more information about Council Destitution motions, including examples of motions that have taken place, please visit the section on Working with your Local Authority