Sheffield landlords and property owners, can you help us?
ASSIST is currently looking for at least one large property (ideally with 6+ bedrooms) to offer emergency accommodation to people seeking sanctuary. This would provide them with a safe and secure place to stay while they waited to be placed in one of the 35 rooms we have available in our long term accommodation programme.
The Home Office has recently announced that it will shortly restart its policy of evicting from asylum accommodation those sanctuary seekers whose asylum claims have been refused. Such evictions have been suspended during the lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 on public health grounds.
We anticipate that the resumption of evictions will result in large numbers of people finding themselves homeless and destitute on the streets of Sheffield. Some of them will end up street homeless, while others will resort to unstable accommodation arrangements such as ‘sofa-surfing’ where they may put themselves and others at risk as long as COVID 19 is still present in our communities.
Before COVID, we ran an all-year emergency night shelter that prevented homelessness of newly destitute sanctuary seekers. The shelter has been shut since March 2020, and all types of similar communal accommodation provision are too risky at present.
What are we looking for
We require a property, ideally with six or more bedrooms, within walking distance of Sheffield City centre. It needs to have at least one bathroom per three residents, and it needs to be available for a minimum of six months. The property should be in a reasonable state of repair and compliant with HMO standards. It should ideally be furnished and equipped, although we would be able to provide some furniture or equipment ourselves.
What we can offer
Primarily we can offer an opportunity to help us make a tangible difference to the lives of some of the most marginalised members of our community.
We are not expecting property owners to donate properties for free and will be in a position to pay some rent, although this will not be in line with market rates. ASSIST will cover council tax and rates where applicable. Depending on the arrangements made with the property owner we can also take on aspects of the physical maintenance of the property.
Any properties made available to us will be well looked after and cared for. ASSIST has experience of running housing for sanctuary seekers, so our team of staff supported by dedicated volunteers would ensure a regular ASSIST presence at the property. This would involve advising our clients on how to use the property appropriately and supporting adherence to house rules. The vast majority of our clients are responsible adults; many were professional people in their home countries. Instances of anti-social behaviour are extremely rare in our experience. As a charity we do not work with clients with known substance or alcohol abuse issues or who have severe mental illness.
To find out more
If you are interested in finding out more, please do have a look around this website to find out more about ASSIST, about asylum, and about what we do...then contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0300 2010072 or 07723 724098.