The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) UK has come together with over 50 other organisations to write to local authorities across England calling for them to make urgent provisions for homeless migrants during the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter, JRS UK and others urged local authorities to take “urgent steps” to “protect and support vulnerable migrants, particularly those with No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) and those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” The letter recommends a range of measures to ensure that migrants living in or at risk of homelessness have adequate accommodation and support.
Sophie Cartwright, JRS UK’s policy officer, said “At JRS UK, we know that the refugees we support in our day centre live in very precarious circumstances because they have been made destitute by the asylum system and often find themselves sleeping on the street. People in this situation are especially vulnerable during the pandemic. Urgent action, and serious planning, are needed to ensure support and protection. We are calling on local authorities to play their part in this.”
The letter repeats recent calls for central government to support homeless migrants and suspend the hostile environment during the pandemic. It follows a letter sent on 19th March from NACCOM members to the Prime Minister calling for urgent government action to support homeless migrants, signed by JRS UK. It reflects serious concerns across the homelessness and migration sector that homeless people are particularly vulnerable to infection, and also unable to socially distance or self-isolate; also, that those with precarious immigration status are less likely to receive support during the pandemic because they generally cannot access public funds.
To read the full letter and list of signatories please visit the ‘Latest Work’ section of our advocacy page