Coronavirus: Access to healthcare, housing and food for all

RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL 
#healthandsafetyforall
cc:   UK Home Secretary and UK Health Secretary,
Irish Health Secretary and Irish Minister for Justice and Equality,
All UK MPs,
All Members of the Irish Parliament (the Oireachtas),
All Leaders and CEOs of Local Authorities and Health Services in the UK,
All CEOs of Councils and Health Services in Ireland,
Professor Neil Ferguson, Imperial College, London,
Dr. Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer, Ireland
Prof Ruairi Brugha, Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology, Ireland27th March 2020

Dear Sirs
RE: ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE, HOUSING AND FOOD FOR ALL
We call upon the British and Irish States to act immediately so that all undocumented, destitute and migrant people in the legal process in both the UK and Ireland are granted Status Now, as in Leave to Remain.  In this way every human, irrespective of their nationality or citizenship can access healthcare, housing, food and the same sources of income from the State as everyone else.  
Everyone has the right to be in an environment where they can follow the Public Health directives necessary to limit COVID19 viral transmission to the absolute minimum and to care for themselves, their loved ones and their living and working communities.
It is imperative – being in everyone’s best interests – that the basic needs of all are met.
People living in extreme poverty and/or destitution and/or without immigration status in the UK or Ireland and/or without access to the NHS or the Irish Health System:
•            Are unable to socially isolate as needed
•            Cannot access health care, and income and other social support
•            Cannot contribute openly and without fear, to making the population as safe as possible, alongside everyone else.Key Points
–            Currently, migrant people who are in the legal system cannot keep physically safe on their allowances, because those allowances don’t amount to enough money to eat healthily, or buy and apply appropriate cleaning materials, and many are living in accommodation where they cannot socially isolate as they may want and need to.
–            People who are destitute and/or undocumented and living in the shadows fear what will happen to them if they identify themselves, cannot access healthcare, emergency shelter and food, nor report or seek protection from domestic violence, rape, exploitation and other abuses – levels of which are already rising.Please direct your responses, as a matter of urgency obviously, to admin@rapar.org.ukYours sincerely,
All African Women’s Group
ATD Fourth World
BASW Cymru – British Association of Social Workers, Cymru
BFAWU – Bakers’, Food & Allied Workers Union
Black Women’s Rape Action Project
Comhlamh
Commonword/Cultureword
DocsNotCops
Doncaster Conversation Club
DPAC – Disabled People Against Cuts
EYST Wales – Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team, Wales
GDWG – Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group
Haringey Welcome
Highly Skilled Migrants UK
Legal Action for Women
Lichfield City of Sanctuary
Lichfield Refugee Aid
Lichfield Quaker Meeting
Manchester City of Sanctuary
MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland
Medical Professionals in the UK Seeking Registration
Middle East Solidarity Magazine
Migrants Rights Network
MOJUK – Miscarriages of Justice UK
MRRC – Manchester Refugee Rights Collective
No-Deportations – Residence Papers for All
Oldham Unity
Positive Action in Housing
Poverty Truth Community
Project 17
Public Interest Law Centre
QARN – Quaker Asylum and Refugee Network
RAPAR – Refugee and Asylum seeker Participatory Action Research
Remodel
Samphire
Reclaim the Power
Women of Colour/Global Women’s Strike
(Preliminary Signatories)

Please see the letter posted on the RAPAR website, and download http://www.rapar.co.uk/news/an-open-letter-to-the-prime-minister-of-the-uk-and-the-taoiseach-of-ireland and a hashtag    healthandsafetyforall    for twittering

** You can sign the petition here: http://www.rapar.co.uk/news/access-to-health-and-safety-for-all

Portugal to Treat Migrants as Residents During Coronavirus Pandemic
All migrants and asylum seekers currently living in Portugal are to be
treated as permanent residents during the coronavirus crisis, the
government has announced.
The changes, announced on Saturday, will ensure foreigners who are still
in the middle of applying for official documentation can still access
life-saving public services.
They will need only to provide evidence of an ongoing residency request
before they can use the country’s health service, welfare system, bank
accounts, and work and rental contracts.
Claudio Veloso, spokesperson for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, said
the new rules would apply from Monday.
“People should not be deprived of their rights to health and public
service just because their application has not yet been processed,” he
told the Reuters news agency. “In these exceptional times, the rights of
migrants must be guaranteed.”

Source: https://is.gd/Ixa9J1

Home Office Put Hold on Evicting Asylum Seekers During Lockdown
The Home Office will stop evicting asylum seekers from government
accommodation for the next three months while the UK remains in
coronavirus lockdown, the British Red Cross has said. Home Office
minister Chris Philp wrote to the charity on Friday to confirm that
people would not be asked to leave their asylum accommodation once their
claim or appeal had been decided.
The move, which will be reviewed in June this year, comes in response to
measures introduced this week ensuring people do not leave their homes
unnecessarily to prevent the spread of Covid-19. In a letter to the
charity, Philp said: “The practical outcome is that those who would
ordinarily have their support stopped because their asylum claim or
appeal has been rejected, will remain accommodated.” He said that those
who had been granted refugee status – and so would normally be required
to make their own arrangements – would also be able to remain in their
current accommodation. “I expect this decision to considerably relieve
pressures on local authorities,” he added.

Read more: Aaron Walawalkar, Guardian, https://is.gd/bc7FKO

The Jesuits have put together a similar call, launched on 3 May 2020 which you can read here: https://www.jesuit.org.uk/sites/default/files/press_release_leave_to_remain_letter_jrsuk_wrw_3may.pdf