November update: The Home Office plans to resume evictions have been paused until the New Year and the council are now accommodating in a hotel those of our clients who would otherwise be homeless. However, we are still concerned that evictions may be resumed in due course.
You may have been shocked to hear that the Home Office announced last week that they are restarting asylum accommodation evictions. We are therefore calling on all our supporters to write to their MP.
Below is a template letter we would urge you to email to your MP as soon as possible. This is just an example, if there is anything you would like to add to make it more personal please do. If you aren't sure who your MP is or what their email address is check out https://www.writetothem.com/. When writing to your MP always remember to include your postcode. If you have any questions please get in touch with Lyndsey email@example.com who will be happy to help. If you recieve any updates from your MP please do also let Lyndsey know.
Dear [name of MP],
Re: protecting people seeking asylum who are at risk of eviction and homelessness
On the 23rd March 2020, evictions from asylum accommodation were suspended. I welcomed this decision and recognise that it has temporarily protected people who would ordinarily be at risk of street homelessness once they exit asylum accommodation.
However, on Monday 15th September the Home Office announced that evictions will resume for people who have been refused asylum. I am extremely concerned that this will create a significant new population of people who are homeless in our city at a time when stringent new measures are being introduced nationally in recognition of the alarming rise in new Covid-19 cases. If asylum evictions resume, people who have been refused asylum, will be unable to access Local Authority homelessness services.
Currently ASSIST Sheffield is accommodating 37 people. As their night shelter and hosting scheme are not able to function they cannot take anyone else. I am extremely concerned that people will be left with no other choice than to sleep rough and will be at extreme risk of contracting and spreading Covid-19.
Research has shown that people from Black, Asian and Ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to die from Covid-19. As Covid-19 cases rise and multiple restrictions are put in place around the UK, I find it unacceptable that people who are currently being accommodated by the Home Office are being evicted into street homelessness.
How you can help:
I would welcome any representations that you can make on behalf of people who are at risk of eviction from asylum accommodation and would like to suggest some of the follow actions;
- To write to the Home Secretary/Minister for Immigration detailing your concerns and to ask them to reverse this decision
- To work with Sheffield City Council to ascertain what awareness and plans there are for this potentially new homelessness population.
I look forward to your response.
[Insert address including postcode]