Frontline refugee organisations around the UK are all talking about the same issue, and that’s the devastating effect that seven-day evictions are having on people receiving positive asylum decisions. They say the atmosphere of panic is palpable, and the situation is set to get worse.
The Home Office has reduced the notice period a successful asylum seeker is given to leave their asylum accommodation once they have been granted refugee status. In effect, it has been reduced from 28 days to just seven days – and in some cases reportedly four days.
We think this story urgently needs to be on the news agenda, so IMIX has worked with the sector, including front line workers at support organisations in the regions as well as homeless charity CRISIS to come up with some 7 day eviction messaging.
What we hope to do first and foremost with this messaging is humanise the issue. To really hammer home that seven days is not enough time for ANYONE to find a place to live, set up a bank account and universal credit.
It didn’t take long for me to come across people who are in this precarious position at the Action Foundation’s InterAction Drop-in in Newcastle this week, where one man from Syria told me that he’s seven days away from being homeless after receiving his Notice to Quit letter:
“It’s a horrible situation, I don’t want to sleep on the street. I’ve been beaten up before by drunks, I had my bike stolen too. All I want is to be able to work and provide for myself – instead I’m having suicidal thoughts.”
While another young student who is currently living in a Newcastle hotel while he waits for his latest asylum decision, told me he’s steeling himself for what comes next.
“Whether I get a positive or negative decision on my asylum case, I have to be ready, so I’ve bought a tent just in case. I’ve been homeless before and I wasn’t prepared, this time it will be different. I saw a homeless guy under a bridge this morning and gave him some change, I thought, this could be me soon.”
If you want to approach regional media about how the story is developing in your part of the UK, we’ve also put together a Press Release template which will provide you with a useful starting point.
We’ve worked the messaging into the press release and given guide text to what might make for a powerful quote – but of course this is made to be personalised and adapted to fit your own set of circumstances.
It’s extremely important to think through all the elements of this story before you pitch it to the press from a safeguarding perspective:
- Do you have case studies that are willing and feeling strong enough to be interviewed?
- Do they wish to remain anonymous? How will you support them?
- What could a TV crew film? Could they come to a drop-in for example, could they capture workers handing out food, clothing, sleeping bags and tents?
- Are there workers at your organisation who are willing to be interviewed – do they need media training?
As ever, if you’re keen to tell this story in your area, please get in touch with IMIX (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can support you.