Child starved to death after benefits delay
- 05 Oct
The government has been warned it must urgently fix flaws in its support system for successful asylum seekers, after a destitute child starved to death in temporary accommodation in Westminster.
Family of three forced to ‘actually become homeless' for local authorities to offer help
Further tragedies are increasingly likely as more asylum claims are processed while support funding dries up, organisations claim.
Details of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of ‘child EG' and the unrelated death of his mother ‘Mrs G' surfaced in a serious case review and a letter sent to the government by child safety experts at Westminster Council, a flagship Conservative borough.
The case review found that the family had become dependent on ‘ad hoc' charitable handouts despite a successful asylum claim because of ‘significant problems' transferring the family from Home Office to mainstream welfare support services.
The family of three was forced to ‘actually become homeless' before local authorities could offer official help, it added.
The Westminster letter - sent last March but only released to Inside Housing this week - urges Home Office and Department for Work and Pensions officials to review and improve transitional support for successful asylum seekers. Terry Bamford wrote:
Joined up government should be able to manage the transition from one form of public support to another.
Asylum seeker charities this week warned of a deterioration in government support services in the 18 months since the letter was sent.
The Home Office axed its funding for Refugee Integration and Employment Service - which paid for transitional support for successful asylum seekers - last September, they point out.
Judith Dennis, policy officer at the Refugee Council, said the problems highlighted in the review were common.
Daoud Zaaroura, chief executive of the North of England Refugee Service, said the issues raised in Westminster's letter were unresolved:
Without RIES, or something similar, there is a real threat of the tragic case of EG happening all over again.
Dave Garratt, chief executive of Refugee Action, said the newly appointed immigration minister, Mark Harper, must ‘urgently address the shortfall in resourcing for these essential services':
We are deeply concerned that our caseworkers are seeing increasing numbers of recent refugees who are being forced onto the street.
James Thomas, director of family services at Westminster Council, said it had provided more details of the case to the Home Office at its request.
A spokesperson for the UK Border Agency said that they have already made several improvements to transitional arrangements:
- Organisations housing asylum seekers for the UKBA now have to notify local authorities when applications are successful
- Refugees can remain in UKBA-funded accommodation for one month after a decision.
- Funding is now given to voluntary groups which offer support and advice.
Source: Inside Housing
- 08 May
Delays in the asylum system leaving many refugees homeless
The charity is calling on the government to review its system so that delays are eliminated in issuing documentation.In the report, titled '28 Days Later: the experience of new refugees in the UK',...
- 24 Apr
MPs criticise asylum housing scheme management
The Public Accounts Committee has said that the Home Office scheme has resulted in asylum seekers being places in "unacceptable poor" housing due to being "badly managed", reports the BBC. The Home...
- 21 Feb
Asylum Seekers let down by G4S
The study took place in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East, prepared on behalf of South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group (SYMAAG) and Notog4sYorkshire Plus, for the Independent...
- 14 Dec
Consistent Problems for Detainees
The two inspectorates interviewed a total of 81 detainees to establish the factors relevant to the decision to detain or maintain detention, and the impact that detention was having on them. They...
- 21 Nov
G4S Asylum Seeker Housing Declared Unfit
Parliamentary inquiry into housing provided to asylum seeker families by G4S is not fit for children to live in.--> --> --> -->Women staying in hostels provided by G4S have reported...
- 15 Oct
Pakistani Girl fighting for education will receive treatment in the UK
Until now, she has been at a military hospital in Rawalpindi, but London had offered to help her in any way, so the evacuation has been arranged by the Pakistani authorities after an assessment by...
- 01 Oct
Pregnant women, children and people with disabilities among those living on less than 77p a day
Pregnant women, children and people with disabilities are among those who have been left destitute on Scotland's streets, according to a report by the Scottish Poverty Information Unit (pdf) which is...
- 24 Sep
Asylum Seeker Process can cause Mental Health Problems for Children
A study by The Childrens Society shows the link between the troubles children have when claiming asylum and their mental health and well being.Of the 3,000 unaccompanied children that claim asylum in...
- 20 Aug
Championing Asylum Rights After Death of Whole Family
The decision not to carry out a fatal accident inquiry into the deaths of three asylum seekers in Glasgow brings to an end a sorry tale of desperation.Russian refugees Serguei, Tatiana and Stepan...
What are the Future Funding Arrangements for Supported and Sheltered Housing? "Really enjoyable presentation, knowledge of presenters was excellent" M.D. - Community Integrated Care