These are just a few examples of people we have already supported. All of them received our help via the Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network.
Client A : Amount Received - £500
Client A has three children aged 9, 7, and 3. Her application to the Home Office based on human rights for her family is being processed and she is due to appear in court soon. Until then, the client and her children rely on any financial support they can get from friends, families and charities. Her immigration status is ‘No recourse to public funds’ which prohibits her from working and providing for her children, particularly buying school uniforms, shoes and winter clothes.
In 2013, Client A approached our office to get help for her immigration status and she has been attending our weekly women’s group since 2016. Our housing and welfare advisor is trying to help her with her housing issues, but this can’t be addressed until her immigration court case is sorted. Fortunately she is currently living with a relative/extended family so she is not struggling with rent and utility bills but she has got very limited income to address basic necessities including food, clothing and school accessories for her children. Despite her financial struggles, Client A is always happy to help in organising our women’s group every week.
Purpose of the grant: The grant was used to pay for her children’s school uniforms, underwear, socks, school activities and a British passport for her son.
Impact : Client A said “thank you very much for the grant, I and my family appreciate it, the children are so happy.”
Client B: Amount Received - £250
Client B is a single adult with no dependants. She suffered mental abuse at her former property and made a homelessness application to her local authority. She was offered a property but this was withdrawn due to rent arrears of £5000, which she is paying off under agreed terms. Under the council's policy, clients with rent arrears are excluded from the housing register. Client B took an overdose and was admitted to hospital. She was kept in hospital for three weeks for her own safety. LRMN adviser appealed to have the exclusion removed, and spoke to Lewisham Council official, who removed the exclusion under exceptional circumstances. Client B was offered a new property from 01 April 2019, bedsit bungalow in Mottingham unfurnished with L & Q Housing Association.
Purpose of the grant: Purchase of furniture for new accommodation e.g. curtain and curtain poles, and a double bed.
Impact: Client B now has a place she can call home and new hope to start again.
Client C: Amount Received - £250
Client C was working and supporting his family for years until he sought immigration advice to allow him to stay in the UK. His immigration solicitors informed him to cease working as he is not permitted to work. Client C has no recourse to public funds (NRPF). His immigration solicitors are trying to resolve this.
He has a wife and two young children. He first sought advice from us in December 2017 with regards to his housing matter as he had substantial rent arrears and was unable to afford his rent. His landlady was asking him to leave as a consequence of this. We advised the client to remain in the property, unless or until a bailiff’s warrant is applied for and executed.
As client C has no recourse to public funds, his local authority has no duty to find him and his family alternative accommodation. It was explained that he is entitled to approach Social Services for assistance, but that it is likely that they will decline to assist with respect to accommodation (as he is technically entitled to remain in the property up until a bailiff’s warrant is executed).
The adviser explained to client C that Social Services may assist him financially pending their assessment. However, the adviser explained that they will want to know if he has a pending application with the Home Office as otherwise they may choose to offer him financial assistance to return to his country of origin instead. The Adviser advised him that he must therefore urgently speak to his immigration solicitors and ensure that he provides his solicitors with the necessary information for them to resolve his immigration issue.
In January 2018 client C provided our adviser with a section 21 notice which his landlady had given him. Our adviser told him the section 21 notice was invalid and informed him once again that he must remain in his current accommodation and approach Social Services for financial assistance pending an assessment and provide evidence to Social Services of a pending immigration application otherwise they will not offer him financial assistance pending their assessment.
Client C has been advised by his immigration solicitor that he will need to obtain passports for all members of his household in order to progress with his immigration application.
Purpose of grant: To allow client to pay for passports for his household
Impact: If client C is successful with his immigration application he will be able remain in the UK, work, support his family and further integrate in the community.
Client D: Amount Received - £500
Client D was previously working and able to support herself. She was prevented from working for six years and unable to afford accommodation. She made a successful application to the Home Office for leave in 2019 and was granted permission to work from February 2019. Unfortunately, her health declined to the extent that she is not able to work due to her health condition (aplastic anemia which causes difficulty with breathing, affects immune system, and tendency to bleed easily).
She was granted leave on condition that she has no recourse to public funds. Whilst her immigration application was pending she was able to rely on the support of various individuals. However, now that she has NRPF and not able to work, she has no means to repay the individuals who were assisting her. Their generosity has been exhausted and client was staying in the back of someone's yard with a chair and a blanket when she approached us. This was adversely affecting her physical health. Client D is being assisted by our immigration solicitor for help with making an application to the Home Office to remove the NRPF condition. This will take some weeks.
Purpose of grant: Pay for accommodation pending her application to remove the NRPF condition.
Impact: Client D's health is no longer put at risk to the extent that she is now able to afford somewhere to stay on a temporary basis pending her immigration application.