Housing4All present report on asylum seekers experience of poverty to UN Special Rapporteur Phillip Alston

On Saturday 10th November 2018, representatives of the Housing4All group presented their report Enforced Destitution: Experiences of Destitution amongst the Asylum Seeking Population in Belfast to the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme Poverty Professor Phillip Alston.

The report covered a range of issues experienced by asylum seekers in Belfast, including their inability to afford the most basic items on a £37.75 per week allowance, funeral poverty, and housing deprivation.

Housing4All group members gave personal testimony regarding these issues to the UN Expert, highlighting the specific difficulties for parents with young children to afford basics like bus fares and school uniforms while dealing with frequent home relocations on a no-choice basis.

In addition, group members spoke about the issue of homelessness for around 100 asylum seekers in Belfast who cannot access homeless hostels due to the ‘no recourse to public funds’ rule. Housing4All explained that they have developed solutions to provide housing for asylum seekers to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive which are being frustrated. Housing4All have now independently launched a Pilot Project in partnership with a Housing Association and other partners to accommodate 4 female destitute asylum seekers. 

Housing4All explained to the UN expert that one of the most obvious solutions to the tackle poverty and destitution would be to give asylum seekers the right to work.

We look forward to hearing the initial findings of the UN report in the live press conference on Friday 23rd November at 12 noon. We hope government listen to the expert and to Housing4All moving forward.