We have been seeing many more sanctuary seekers from Iraq recently and others from Sri Lanka and Iran. There is an increase in the numbers who are still awaiting asylum decisions and for some, who have not been able to access the asylum process they are currently without funds or, in some cases, a place to stay.
Usually, when a person enters the country and claims asylum – often at a port or airport – they will be sent to a dispersal centre. These centres provide accommodation and a basic weekly amount of around £37 or vouchers – or full board and a smaller amount. The accommodation varies from family friendly to hostels for men or women.
When a person arrives in the country they are asked if they have friends or relatives here. If they have that linked person will be called and encouraged to provide a place to stay while the sanctuary seeker is waiting asylum. If they do then very often no financial help is given. There is no check to ensure that the person offering accommodation can afford to do so or has space.
It’s possible to apply retrospectively for a subsistence grant but the process takes a long time and is paperwork heavy! We are currently helping several people access this support and also for people who have failed their first asylum claim and are entirely without funds we are assisting them in accessing specialist funding from the Home Office – an even more intensive process.
In the meantime, your generosity means we can provide £35 a week to the most needy clients, enabling them to buy food and essentials.