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Funding cut means Wales’ most vulnerable people will lose their accommodation in 28 days

02 May 2024 4 minute read
The Welsh Government has pulled funding from people who have no legal right to be supported with public money.

Martin Shipton

Some of Wales’ most vulnerable people have been told to vacate their accommodation within 28 days after the Welsh Government decided to pull funding from people who have no legal right to be supported with public money.

Those involved are mainly single homeless people from overseas without settled status, many of whom were sleeping rough before the Welsh Government used its own resources to provide them with places in hostels.

No Recourse to Public Funds

A source who works with homeless people sent Nation.Cymru a statement that said: “The Welsh Government has pulled funding for homeless people with NRPF [No Recourse to Public Funds]. As a result clients with NRPF have been given 28 days to leave their accommodation

“At least 12 of the NRPF clients given these notices are clients who the various outreach teams have supported into housing from rough sleeping. Some of these clients had been rough sleeping for several years prior and the work it took to get them into any kind of accommodation now appears in vain.

“We have one client who was rough sleeping for over 10 years. It took years of work with many staff members to build a trusting relationship to the point that she would even consider accepting an offer of accommodation. It is likely that she will now return to the spot she spent 10 years in, no better off.

“Twenty-eight days is not even long enough to complete a voluntary return to their home country. It seems unfair to give such a short period of notice when a lot of them have been housed for 2+ years. I hope it is understood that the majority do not have a chance and will end up rough sleeping again.

“The Welsh Government should delay the end of funding so that measures can be taken to try and support these individuals to not return to rough sleeping. The Welsh Government should consider these people on a case by case basis and make exceptions for those with health issues and previously entrenched long term rough sleepers.”

Heartbreaking

Another source who works with homeless people in Cardiff said: “After the optimism that was created when rough sleeping was eradicated during the pandemic, it is heartbreaking to see all that good work undone.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Immigration is not devolved and local authorities are prohibited from providing homelessness assistance to many with no recourse to public funds under UK Government legislation.

“We are working with local authorities to support people who face extreme hardship or destitution and this includes providing guidance and training for local authorities.”

The Welsh Government also funds Housing Justice Cymru and Asylum Justice to provide support to a small number of those with a realistic prospect of an asylum appeal.

NRPF restrictions apply to a diverse range of people including sponsored skilled workers, family members of British citizens, students, investors, asylum seekers, and undocumented migrants.

Guidance

In June 2022, the Welsh Government published its (NRPF) Guidance to assist public sector bodies and third sector organisations to support people with NRPF. The guidance gives a straightforward explanation of duties, options to support and reinforces the need for recognising the person before seeing their immigration status, all important aspects of our Nation of Sanctuary values, ones we would implore everyone to progress with us. We expect local authorities to adopt an approach of providing as much support as they can, rather than concentrating on what they cannot offer.

In 2022, Wales launched its Migrant Victim of Abuse Support Fund Pilot, which aims to protect those facing abuse with NRPF. The Welsh Government’s Nation of Sanctuary: Refugee and Asylum Seeker Plan sets out its commitment to improve outcomes for all people seeking sanctuary, including those with NRPF.

A spokesperson for Cardiff council said: “As part of the ‘Everyone In’ approach to helping vulnerable people during the pandemic, the council received support from the Welsh Government to ensure that anyone who needed to access emergency accommodation was able to do so. This included support for individuals who had no eligibility for housing assistance.

“This support is now no longer in place and as such 11 people who had been accessing accommodation in the city have been given notice to leave their accommodation. The council will assist these individuals over the coming weeks to help them to access alternative services that may be able to support them.

“Exceptions apply for some people who have a care and support need. The council’s adults services department will carry out an assessment for any individuals where this may apply.”


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Linda Jones
Linda Jones
19 days ago

Very sad for those affected

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
19 days ago

NRPF…a new one on me…cold comfort Cymru…

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