Brighton & Hove Housing Coalition has joined with 100 other organisations to call on Local Authorities to ensure no-one is pushed out onto the streets now that lockdown measures are easing.
It is vital that ongoing shelter and support continues to be provided to all those experiencing or at risk of homelessness, regardless of immigration status. We also ask Local Authorities to join us in publicly calling for an end to the No Recourse to Public Funds policy.
The Right to Remain campaign is growing daily with more and more homeless and housing stakeholders and organisations making a stand.
The campaign are asking your local authority to take the following steps:
1. Commit to continuing to support everybody who is, or is at risk of, sleeping rough, and to do so regardless of immigration status. This commitment must include assurances that nobody will be evicted from temporary accommodation provided through the pandemic response unless and until suitable long-term housing has
been found for them.
2. Urgently and publicly advocate to central government for the removal of all NRPF restrictions, including those that apply to undocumented migrants and EEA citizens without a qualifying right to reside, to ensure that everyone can access shelter and meet their basic needs during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
3. Provide assurances that homeless people’s data will never be shared with the Home Office without their informed consent and that nobody will be offered ‘voluntary return’ or ‘reconnection’ to their country of origin as a ‘single service offer’.
“We are grateful to those local authorities who have already signalled their wish to ensure that nobody is forced to return to the street. However, in these extraordinary circumstances, further efforts are required to uphold everybody’s right to shelter,
regardless of immigration status.”
Brighton and Hove City Council and Councillors respond to the local issue.
It was confirmed at the Housing Committee that:
“The initial focus of work was to procure all the accommodation and enable people to be moved in within a very short timeframe. In total we acquired 379 rooms in various hotels, guest houses and the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). Those contracts are subject to 7days’ notice, and some of the hotels indicated they would return to commercial use assoon as restrictions were lifted. To offset the risk of losing accommodation at short notice, we subsequently acquired 222 units of student accommodation from the University of Brighton which will be available until September along with the YHA and two of the hotels.”
The council claim they still need to complete a further 400 personal housing plans for those being accommodated.
Brighton and Hove City Council said they are asking for funding from Ministry of Housing. They are “cautiously optimistic” for getting some funding to assist with this and wrap around support, for addictions and those wanting to detox.
Cllr Theresa Fowler said “This was a huge task, I want to thank everyone for all your hard work to get the homeless off the streets. How are we helping those with substance misuse problems? What is the plan going forward, this is a great opportunity to help them”
Brighton & Hove Housing Coalition will be closely monitoring this situation, there was confirmation that their will be a new Homelessness Reduction Board and a Homeless Operational Board created.
Brighton & Hove Housing Coalition will be represented in some way and we praise the council’s new focus on those with lived homelessness experience onto these boards.
The Homeless Bill of Rights (which is still to be officially adopted) will be an important charter and standard which will be scrutinised via these boards and of course in future housing committees.