A local charity is calling for support as the Government’s ‘Everyone In’ policy, which housed 260 people in Bristol in hotels and temporary accommodation, ends.
Bristol Hospitality Network, which supports people seeking asylum and experiencing destitution, is working with Bristol City Council to house the city’s asylum seekers, many of which have come from Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Afghanistan.
When the paid-for accommodation support ends Bristol’s destitute asylum seekers, which is estimated to be 100 people, could return to the streets.
In response, Bristol Hospitality Network and Bristol City Council have launched a campaign to recruit volunteer asylum seeker hosts.
Many asylum seekers in Bristol are destitute, with no recourse to public funds, no right to social housing, no right to rent privately and no permission to work.
City and charity leaders have said a “cliff edge” is looming as an end to Government support schemes could see more people facing homelessness.
Caring in Bristol have also warned that homelessness could rise to “catastrophic” levels as the Government’s furlough scheme finishes.
Bristol’s mayor Marvin Rees has joined others across the country to lobby the government for the funds and resources to help people off the streets for good.
With the scheme looking to come to an end, despite the council exploring longer-term options for the 260 people who have been housed in hotels and temporary accommodation, Bristol Hospitality Network is working to support asylum seekers off the streets through volunteer hosts.
“This is our chance to show our solidarity as a city and prevent people from returning to the streets. Stable and safe accommodation makes the difference between a successful asylum case and permanent destitution here in the UK,” says Bristol Hospitality Network director Lizzie Briggs.
“By hosting an asylum seeker, you are offering vital support at a crucial turning point in someone’s life; someone who has already been through immense trauma to get here.”
Bristol Hospitality Network hopes to find volunteers who can offer a spare room or living space for a minimum of three months. Hosts can join support networks and the charity supports asylum seekers while they are being hosted as well.
“We have a great opportunity to make sure that no one has to return to the streets following the Covid-19 crisis, and that includes people seeking asylum in our city,” said mayor Marvin Rees.
“If you think you could host and provide support for an asylum seeker during a pivotal stage in their life, please do come forward. You could make the difference and help them on their journey to a better life.”