Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

It’s time to end no recourse to public funds

Our News in Brief

It’s time to end no recourse to public funds

12th June 2020
Covid-19 has shone a brighter light on the injustices that many migrants face. Many members of our communities are unable to access government help because of where they were born, and the immigration papers they have.

This is because of a government policy called No Recourse to Public Funds (NRPF) that denies people living and working in the UK crucial forms of support from the government. Without assistance like Universal Credit and housing benefit, so many people - including 100,000 children - are left without a safety net.

Peter*, who is now staying in our rough sleeper hub, said, “It’s impossible to get your life sorted. I couldn’t get a bank account, or a job, or a home. What are you meant to do? I had no choice but to sleep on the floor with 22 others as part of a labouring job working over 12 hours a day unpaid. Now I realise it was slavery. It was unspeakable, so I left, and now I fear for my life. I’ve been at Caritas Anchor House for three months now, and they are helping me to put my life back together. Without somewhere safe to stay like this, I don’t know what would have happened to me.”

But for so many people, they can’t find refuge at organisations like Caritas Anchor House because of the lack of government support.

Even the Prime Minister agrees. On May 27th 2020, in response to Stephen Timms MP, he said, "Clearly people who have worked hard for this country, who live and work here, should have support of one kind or another." He pledged to “see what we can do to help.”

Click here to watch a video from Amanda Dubarry, our Chief Executive, about why we’re working with Citizens UK to end No Recourse to Public Funds and what the government can do to help.

One of the most important issues for us is the provision somewhere safe to stay. The government instructed local authorities to house all people sleeping rough, regardless of immigration status, for the duration of the Covid-19 lockdown. But as lockdown is being eased, we’re doing everything we can to make sure that people aren’t left with no choice but to go back to the streets.

Megan Stewart, Assessment Hub Manager at Caritas Anchor House, said, “People sleeping rough with no recourse to public funds are the most vulnerable. They have no means of supporting themselves financially, so are seen as easy prey and are at risk of human traffickers, being exploited for forced labour and modern slavery. Quite literally, people are risking their lives and have no safety net. We see this in the work we do at Caritas Anchor House, and are campaigning to end NRPF for good.”

There are thousands of people in our communities who are unable to work and have no access to benefits so are left without any source of income. NRPF needs to end. Nobody should be left behind. Not now, not ever.

What can you do to help?

  1. Co-sign our letter to Secretary of State Robert Jenrick to prevent the return of thousands of people to the streets. 
  2. Contact your MP and let them know you want support for migrants who have No Recourse to Public Funds. Click here to find your local MP.
  3. Share this page with your family, friends and on your social media channels. A suggested post is: The government must suspend the No Recourse to Public Funds policy during the coronavirus crisis to prevent thousands of people falling into destitution and homelessness. Please sign our letter to @RobertJenrick here: https://bit.ly/3hpnqeY @10DowningStreet @CitizensUK

Together, we can save and improve people’s lives – but we have to do it now. Thank you.

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