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Homelessness among non-UK nationals

At Crisis, our goal is to end homelessness across the UK. With a significant proportion of the people experiencing homelessness in the UK originally being from another country, we know that we need to address the specific issues facing non-UK nationals to truly end homelessness for all, such as barriers in access to benefits or statutory homelessness support.

Making sure that no one is homeless because of their immigration status is a Crisis practice and campaign priority for 2021 and going forward over the next few years. Here's what we're working on:

  • Research into the number and experiences of EEA nationals who are homeless in the UK (research and policy report due October 2021)
  • Research into public attitudes on non-UK nationals experiencing homelessness
  • Grant funding organisations and projects working with migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees experiencing homelessness
  • Experts by Experience Panel feeding into our policy and campaign development
  • Consultation with Crisis’ client services staff at all levels on our service offer and the policy solutions needed to end homelessness for non-UK nationals
  • Sector collaboration and knowledge sharing through a series of seminars, discussions and workshops to support homelessness organisations in their work with non-UK nationals.

Working with the homelessness sector to support non-UK nationals

Alongside publishing research and other resources, Crisis is hosting a series of seminars, discussions and workshops on policy, practice, communications and campaigning to support homelessness sector organisations in their work with non-UK nationals.

The events are varied and relevant at a range of roles and levels within local and national homelessness organisations across the UK. Registration is free.

There are currently no events listed. Please check back soon for details of future events.

Resources

Understanding attitudes towards non-UK nationals experiencing homelessness (2021) – Read executive summary and full research reports

Community of practice: using the private rented sector as a route out of homelessness for non-UK nationals (May 2021) - Read meeting notes here

Rules for non-UK nationals sleeping rough

No one should be denied a home due to their immigration status. Yet, on a daily basis people from outside of the UK must contend with suspicion about their motives, being excluded from almost all support services, and a constant threat of removal from the country.

The political agenda to create a ‘hostile environment’ for some has severely affected people from outside the UK who face homelessness in this country. This is regardless of their status in the UK, or reason for being here. It has also made it harder for service providers like Crisis to help people. Although the solutions to homelessness for non-UK nationals are much the same as for other people experiencing the problem, a set of policies lock people out of these solutions.

In December 2020, the Home Office updated its immigration rules to include rough sleeping as grounds for refusal or cancellation of someone’s leave, which we, along with sector partners, raised our concerns about in a joint statement. In April 2021, updated guidance was published to state that the new rules should only be used in exceptional circumstances: where someone has refused suitable offers of support and demonstrates persistent anti-social behaviour. It can only be applied to circumstances that occurred from 1 December 2020 onwards.

The rules do not apply to everyone and in practice should only directly impact a small group of people. However, we're still very concerned about the wider implications of these rules. Immigration can be a very confusing and complicated area for people to navigate and people won’t necessarily know if they are affected by these rules. Messaging like this from the Home Office could deter people from reaching out for much needed support.

For the rules to be effective, the Home Office will need local authorities to feedback what support has been offered and refused. Crisis is keen to know local authority responses to inform our policy and practice work. If you are aware of how these rules are being enforced in your area, please contact us at bestpractice@crisis.org.uk

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