156 Refused refugees are being forced into destitution in Glasgow

With this video, Glasgow-based organisation Positive Action in Housing (PAiH), alongside many others have raised an alert about 156 refused refugees being forced out of their accomodation and onto the streets of Glasgow:

From PAiH:

156 refused refugees are being made destitute on the streets of Glasgow. Their claims for protection have been turned down even though the UK Borders Agency acknowledges it is unsafe to return them to countries they came from. The UK Borders Agency likes to call them “failed asylum seekers” – a term of abuse as well as a blatant lie in moral terms. We prefer to use the correct term — refused refugees — human beings who have been refused refuge in a safe country from unsafe conditions in their own.

Y People, a Christian charity paid to provide asylum housing, has lost its contract. Instead, the UKBA has awarded the contract to multinational SERCO, whose business it is to make money out of running prisons and detention centres. They are NOT a charity or a housing provider. SERCO is taking that contract over from November 2012 and wants vacant possession with only “supported” asylum seekers. Anyone unsupported will be put out. Caught between public pressure and serving the contract, Y People has, up till now, turned a blind eye to the refused refugees living in the run down Red Road high rises and elsewhere in Glasgow. This unwritten arrangement made it easier for our charity to provide crisis payments for food, medicine and travel to the most vulnerable.

156 people who are not entitled to stay in the Red Road flats survive on handouts from Positive Action in Housing (£29,100 in crisis payments given out last year), Refugee Survival Trust (crisis payments), the British Red Cross (emergency packs, clothing vouchers and sleeping bags), Destiny Angels and local food and clothing networks organized by voluntary groups like Unity Centre and local churches. They are victims of the UK government’s Destitution Policy towards refused refugees. They cannot return to unsafe conditions in their own country and the UK Borders Agency accepts this. They are forbidden to work or request financial support from the public purse. They are not entitled to social housing or emergency homelessness accommodation. Y-People is now telling refused refugees it can’t afford to keep them and to get out. Officials are turning off their electricity, changing locks, putting up metal doors, effectively freezing and locking out the most vulnerable in our society from eerily rundown buildings with empty flats that no one else wants to live in.

But, as Mahdi, says in the film document, “where do I go?”. If the current crisis was happening in any other country, aid agencies would have set up camps to provide food shelter and warmth. Unfortunately, no such response has been forthcoming in the UK towards refused refugees. Positive Action in Housing is looking at the humanitarian assistance we need to provide, as are British Red Cross, Scottish Refugee Council and others. But we know the existing emergency provisions are simply not enough. We are concerned about the pressures on existing fragile resources. We are concerned as to why we are being left to give out food, shelter and crisis payments, yet no one in Government or Glasgow City Council, appears to be doing a single thing about it.
What you can do:
1. Donate to the emergency hardship fund for refused refugees via Justgiving and leave a message of support. Or donate via PayPal to donate@paih.org. Or send a cheque made out to Positive Action in Housing and send to: Destitution appeal, c/o Positive Action in Housing, 98 West George Street, Glasgow G2 1PJ. To pay by BACs emailhome@paih.org .

Every penny will go towards crisis payments for food, medicine, shelter and warmth, as well as practical support to get people good legal support and sign posted to emergency support. It doesnt matter how much or how little you or your organisation give, every penny counts.

2. Volunteer to offer a room or space in your home to someone who is a refused refugee. Email home@paih.orgto confirm.

3. Drop bread (sealed) and fruit into Positive Action in Housing’s offices anytime Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday between 11 am and 4 pm, so we can give them out to the destitute and those without financial support who visit our daily drop ins and appointments. Many people, including children, pregnant women and the elderly, are often hungry and going without. Email home@paih.org to confirm.

4. Write to the First Minister in your own words and ask him what the Scottish Government is doing to help Scotland’s refused refugees. Ask him to call on the UK government to allow those under threat of destitution to remain where they are, rather than be forced onto the streets. Email firstminister@scotland.gsi.gov.uk . Send copies tohome@paih.org

5. Write to your MP and the Home Secretary in your own words to condemn the UK’s destitution policy and demand a limited right to work for all asylum seekers and en end to destitution. Send copies to home@paih.org

Contact details for The Home Secretary:
Theresa May, MP
Secretary of State for the Home Office
2 Marsham Street
London SW1 4DF

Fax: 020 7035 4745 (00 44 20 7035 4745 if you are faxing from outside UK)

Please email all these addresses: