Asylum Matters: On Tuesday 17th July 2018 Kate Green MP was joined by MPs for a Westminster Hall Debate on refugee homelessness – full transcript available here. Unfortunately, a Home Office Minister was not present to answer the debate, and instead questions were presented to Nigel Adams, from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The debate centred around the inadequate length of time provided by the 28-day grace period to secure a tenancy and income resulting in homelessness among newly granted refugees.
A number of MPs pointed out the inconsistency between cross-departmental Government policies, notably that the move on period is inconsistent with the Homelessness Reduction Act which extends to 56 days the period during which someone can be deemed threatened with homelessness. Concerns were also raised relating to people issued with discretionary leave to remain with no recourse to public funds; over the monitoring and evaluation of measures taken by the Home Office to combat refugee homelessness such as the post-grant appointment service and the LAASLO scheme, and the inhibiting effect on integration of preventing refugees from working while awaiting a decision on their asylum claim.
In his response, the Minister for HCLG cited the progress made on refugee resettlement commitments and the ambitious Homelessness Reduction Act to demonstrate the government’s commitment to supporting both refugees and people affected by homelessness. He assured those in attendance that the government was committed to working with civil society and other partners to increase integration support and made the assurance that Home Office accommodation providers already have a contractual duty to notify the local authority of the potential need to provide housing where a person in that accommodation is granted status. Crucially, the Minister recognised the desire for the Home Office to engage on the matters raised and committed to convening a meeting between the Immigration Minister and Kate Green MP to take the issues forward. You can find the briefing for the debate attached and additional resources available here.