Housing and support for refugees

In April 2019, Tai Pawb published a new report looking at improving the housing situation of refugees living in Wales. The report, commissioned by the Welsh Government and authored by Joy Kent, explores the feasibility of establishing temporary accommodation and support for refugees in Wales, based on models already established by specialist providers in England.

The objective of the proposed accommodation and support is to prevent homelessness by providing refugees with a stable base and assistance specifically designed to help them integrate and achieve their goals. The feasibility study looks specifically at homelessness experienced by refugees during the so-called ‘move-on’period.

Currently if a person is granted refugee status, they have 28 days to move out of their asylum accommodation provided through the Home Office. During this period they need to find housing, get a National Insurance number and apply for benefits or find employment. Administrative delays during this period often result in people becoming destitute. Those refugees and refugee families who are classed as priority need can spend lengthy periods in temporary and often unsuitable or unsafe accommodation. People not deemed to be in priority need are generally unable to access private rented housing, due to the requirement to pay agency fees, one or two month’s rent in advance, the need for a guarantor and lengthy delays in integration loans being processed. (NAfW ELGC Committee Report, I used to be someone, 2017)

The feasibility study includes identifying models developed elsewhere, and considers their potential to be sustainable and contribute positively to the lives and integration of refugees within the Welsh context, specifically considering the issues and barriers identified by Welsh Government and partners and responded to by Welsh Government policy.

The report makes recommendations aimed at ensuring feasibility of any potential refugee housing provision. It also recommends that further work is carried by Tai Pawb working with housing, refugee organisations and other partners to progress the development of the recommended housing solutions.

During and following the publication of the report, Tai Pawb started working with Welsh Government, Joy Kent and a number of housing associations in Wales to take forward the report recommendations. To find out more, contact alicja@taipawb.org.

Refugee Housing and Support Feasibility Study

 

Our work on recommendations

Following the publication of the above report, Tai Pawb began working with a number of housing associations to take forward the recommendations of the report:

  • In May 2019 we met with Welsh Government and a number of housing associations to begin exploring the practical implications of establishing pilot schemes in Wales. We were pleased with the commitment from the housing sector to address issues of homelessness and housing support.
  • In July 2019 we facilitated a meeting of the interested housing associations, Welsh Government and Action Foundation – an organisation based in Newcastle which successfully provides housing and support for refugees and refused asylum seekers, utilising private rented sector properties. The session provided much needed practical and technical information on the practicalities of establishing temporary supported housing in Wales. It also provided a platform for agreeing next steps in achieving the goals behind the Tai Pawb feasibility report. This includes:
    • better utilisation of existing housing and support
    • further learning from England based organisations
    • making a collective case for the need to address refugee homelessness in local areas as the basis for developing pilots in line with the Welsh Government Nation of Sanctuary Strategy.
    • engagement with refugee and asylum seeker organisations as crucial partners