By Gabriel Salter, Sona Circle
Homelessness is one of the biggest issues refugees face in the UK. In most of our major cities, a quarter of those sleeping rough are refugees and thousands more are without a permanent home.
After being forced to flee horrible conditions in their home countries and travelling long journeys for a better life it is wrong that so many refugees should be left homeless by the UK government.
Thankfully there are some groups who are doing something to tackle this issue. Are you a refugee in need of shelter, or someone who wants to help? Here is a list of good organisations you can contact.
Room for Refugees
Room For Refugees is a community hosting network that offers safe, temporary homes and support for refugees and asylum seekers.
From 2002-2019 they have arranged more than 104,000 nights of shelter for refugees and other vulnerable individuals.
If you are a refugee in need of accommodation then contact them for help here. If you are someone who wants to help shelter refugees then you can sign up to be a host and offer a spare room or donate to support their work.
Most refugees that have housing rent from private landlords. However, refugees are particularly vulnerable to eviction as they are often in unstable employment. Since the COVID pandemic hit, 32% of refugees have lost their job, 4 times above the national average. This makes it difficult for many refugees to pay their rent and leaves them vulnerable to eviction.
That’s where Tenant’s unions come in. These organisations provide legal and physical protection for their members – both refugees and others – against eviction or discrimination by landlords. They also pressure the government to ensure everyone has access to housing and prevent evictions and homelessness.
If you are threatened with eviction or know anyone who is, ask these unions for help. If you live in London the best one to contact is the London Renters Union. If you live anywhere else in England or Wales then contact ACORN. If you live in Scotland then contact Living Rent.
NACCOM is a community housing network that provides accommodation to refugees and asylum seekers in need. It has members across the country who sign up to provide this housing.
They also provide data and research on the scale of the homelessness crisis in the UK and pressure the government to address it.
Click here if you are an individual or organisation who wants to become a member to provide shelter to refugees or want to support their work by donating or volunteering.
Refugees at home
Similarly to room for refugees, Refugees at Home is a UK charity which connects those with a spare room in their home to refugees and asylum seekers in need of somewhere to stay.
So far it has been responsible for placing 2,345 guests with a total of 182,072 placement nights.
If you are a refugee, someone who knows a refugee in need or someone who can help by providing a room, donating or volunteering then contact them here.
Refugee council Private rented scheme
The refugee council works to support refugee rights in lots of ways. One of their key projects is their Private Rented Scheme. This programme helps provide refugees with the deposits they need to access private housing and push landlords to give refugees housing without deposits.
Click here if you are a refugee in need of housing support or want to help by donating to or volunteering with the refugee council.
StreetLink helps rough sleepers by enabling members of the public to connect them with local services that can support them.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use this website to send an alert to StreetLink.
The limits of these solutions
These organisations do great work to alleviate the homelessness crisis. But to properly solve it we have to change national government policy.
We must push the government to give housing to all who need it. This can be done by building council houses and utilising empty properties. Only by guaranteeing housing as a human right can we properly end homelessness.