It has been amazing to see how people in Brighton & Hove have responded to the terrible scenes that we have seen on our television screens over this summer. Some groups and individuals have thrown their energy into supporting the refugees and migrants living rough in Calais, while others are eager to welcome Syrian refugees.
We are delighted that the new Council has reiterated its commitment to taking in some Syrian families,. However, Mr Cameron has only just announced that the UK’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme is to be expanded to 4,000 people a year, so it will be some time before the details are sorted out and families start to arrive here in Brighton & Hove.
Meanwhile, we have received numerous enquiries from people offering a room and have put together what we know about organisations that might help. Please let us know if you know of any other organisations that we can add to our list, or have any other feedback on this.
Do you want to offer a home to a refugee, asylum seeker or migrant?
Brighton & Hove City Council
The Council has set up a dedicated email address [email protected] and are collating all offers of accommodation, but are particularly interested in hearing from landlords interesting in offering properties for long term rental to Syrians arriving on the Government’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.
There is currently no official mechanism for allocating refugees from Syria into private homes and no Syrians have arrived in Brighton on the relocation scheme yet.
Initiatives in Brighton & Hove
Brighton & Hove has a long history of welcoming people seeking sanctuary and organisations like those below have been offering support to them, including by helping with accommodation. They are often from countries such as Eritrea, Iran and Afghanistan, who have fled conflict, human rights abuse and environmental catastrophe. The most vulnerable are those who have had their asylum claims refused and been rendered destitute.
Brighton Voices in Exile
BVIE provide casework support for those seeking asylum, refugees and those with no recourse to public funds in Sussex and Surrey. This includes support with immigration, solicitors, housing and benefits. They also run a destitution service that advises on education and employment in addition to providing some food basics.
Currently they are more in need of donations of food than offers of accommodation. Check their facebook page for updates.
Donations can be made via PayPal.
St Mary Magdalen Catholic Church
55 Upper North Street
Phone: 01273 328598
Email: [email protected]
Brighton Migrant Solidarity
Brighton Migrant Solidarity are setting up a “Thousand for £1000” scheme. They are looking for 1000 people to donate £1 a month with which they will rent property for destitute migrants. They also need people with affordable properties or rooms.
If you are interested, email them on: [email protected]
Initiatives in London
London Hosting was created in 2010 as a response to an extreme need to create viable alternative accommodation provision for destitute migrants who have no access to public funds. Group members belong to different voluntary organisations in London (Spare Room, Housing Justice, London Churches Refugee Network, Praxis etc.) which strive to make hosting options in London better supported and more readily available. Guests are referred by Praxis Community Projects whose team of advisers, working with forced migrants with insecure status and no recourse to public funds, makes sure that immigration, benefits, legal and health issues in guests’ lives are being resolved so that they can successfully move on.
Praxis also provides advice for other professionals working with migrants on their advice line, 020 7749 7608, Tuesdays & Thursdays 2-4:30pm.
Spare Room for destitute forced migrants “finds, selects and supports people willing to offer a spare room to people forced to seek refuge in the UK – those who are homeless and neither allowed to work nor claim any state benefits”.
Tel: 07950 571256
Email: [email protected]
Home for Good
According to its web site, Home for Good work with local authorities across the UK and are compiling a database of people who have space in their homes and may be interested in exploring further the possibility of fostering unaccompanied asylum-seeking children for a few days in an emergency, short term or long term.
Homes for Syrians
National No Accommodation Network
The National No Accommodation Network (NACCOM) (http://naccom.org.uk/) is an informal network of agencies providing accommodation for migrants who have no recourse to public funds. Most of these are asylum seekers whose asylum claims have been rejected, but for a variety of reasons have not been deported.