Issues relating to immigration status can cause people to sleep rough due to destitution and people need specialised support to understanding their rights and entitlements.
Immigration issues can prevent people from finding routes out of rough sleeping – often they must try to resolve their status issue or, failing that, decide to leave the UK.
Access to good quality, regulated advice on immigration and assisted voluntary return is essential to enable people to understand their rights and entitlements. It is important specific advice is only provided by an organisation or practitioner who is regulated by The Office of the Immigration Services Commission (OISC) or a qualified immigration solicitor:
Whilst other organisations can provide important emotional and practical support to individuals with immigration problems, it is crucial to refer to a regulated practitioner when immigration advice is required. It may be of value to support people who are currently receiving advice to check that their advisor is regulated and to change if necessary.
Resources for working with Non-EEA nationals:
StreetLegal is a service run in partnership between St Mungo’s, Refugee Action and Praxis. The project provides immigration advice, support and accommodation for destitute migrants rough sleeping in London. Enquiries can be made at firstname.lastname@example.org
Homeless Link has produced a Migrant Destitution Toolkit that will offer practical support to improve pathways out of destitution for destitute migrants: http://www.homeless.org.uk/our-work/national-projects/strategic-alliance-on-migrant-destitution/migrant-destitution-toolkit
Housing Rights, delivered by BMENational and Chartered Institute of Housing, aims to provide accurate information about entitlements to housing, based on people’s immigration status: http://www.housing-rights.info/index.php
The NACCOM website includes a directory of member projects providing accommodation and support, alongside information on other relevant projects and resources: https://naccom.org.uk
Homeless Link have produced guidance on working with homeless adults who have no recourse to public funds: http://www.homeless.org.uk/our-work/resources/supporting-people-with-no-recourse-to-public-funds